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Friday, October 31, 2014
School test scores drop sharply
Superintendent Johnson, a critic of new state exams, insists they ‘do not matter’
Herald File Photo
Dr. William Johnson

By Alex Costello

acostello@liherald.com

New York state released the results of its new tests last week and, as expected, scores for students all over the state, including Rockville Centre, dropped dramatically.

Last year, an average of about 81 percent of Rockville Centre students passed the state exams, which are given in grades 3 through 8 in English Language Arts and math. This year, with the new tests the state gave, the passing rate in Rockville Centre plummeted to 48 percent. The state average was slightly over 30 percent.

“Our conclusion, after reviewing this with my staff in the central office and talking to a number of colleagues, is that we’re just going to put it on a shelf someplace and just leave it there,” said Dr. William Johnson, the district superintendent. “We’re not going to use this information to make any kind of determination about what kind of services we need for children, and we’re not going to use it in any capacity whatsoever to make informed decisions about our staff.”

The drop in scores came because more rigorous standards were used on the exams. They were the first to be given since the state shifted its curriculum to the Common Core Learning Standards, which are intended to more fully prepare students for college and careers.

“These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century,” State Education Commissioner John King Jr. said in a release. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers, and principals. It’s frustrating to see our children struggle. But we can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity. The results we’ve announced today are not a critique of past efforts; they’re a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.”

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