Dear Parents and Community Residents,
Earlier this year, students in grades three through eight throughout New York State were required to participate in the New York State English Language Arts and Math assessments. These exams were the first to measure the new, more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards, which were first introduced into the district’s curriculum in September 2012.
On Wednesday, August 7th, the results were released with a noticeable decline in student success. The significant decrease in student performance experienced throughout the state should not be attributed to a decline in student learning or ability to be college and career ready, but rather reflects the expedited implementation of the Common Core curriculum.
In March 2013, prior to the administration of the assessments and in response to concerns expressed by my colleagues and myself on the prematurely implemented exams, Deputy Commissioner of Education Ken Slentz advised all superintendents to expect a decrease in results based on previous years’ performance.
Correlating to that memo, with the official release of the scores, Commissioner of Education Dr. John B. King Jr. released his own memo noting the increased expectations and drop in student performance. In his letter, Dr. King wrote, “I want to make it very clear that the change in test scores does not mean that students are learning less or that teachers and schools are performing worse than last year. Proficiency rates – the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards – on the new Common Core assessments cannot be compared with last year’s proficiency results since the old scores are from an old test based on the former standards.”
In Elmont, we take great pride in the education provided to our students. This year’s assessment results are not a fair or accurate reflection of our students’ abilities. Additionally, as noted by Dr. King in a message posted to the New York State Education Department website, “the change in proficiency rates does not mean teachers are teaching less” and the state has made sure the scores “will not negatively impact teacher, principal or school accountability.”
As a district, we will analyze the new assessment data and provide relevant support where it is needed. Curriculum development is an ongoing process. During the last two summers and throughout both schools years, teams of Elmont administrators and teachers have aligned the district curriculum to the New York State Common Core Standards in Literacy and Mathematics.
For your convenience, please see attached the letter from Dr. King regarding the recent scores.