- Associated Press - Friday, July 29, 2016

For a second straight year, at least 20 percent of New York students sat out of this year’s Common Core tests, but those who took them showed gains in English and, to a lesser extent, math, according to results released Friday.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said 37.9 percent of third- through eighth-grade students scored proficient on the English language arts assessments given this past spring and 39.1 percent were rated proficient in math.

Last year, 31.3 percent of students were considered proficient in English and 38.1 percent in math, Elia said, while cautioning that changes made to the 2016 tests cloud direct comparisons.

This year’s tests had fewer questions and were administered by vendor Questar instead of Pearson under changes adopted with the hope of improving participation in the federally required assessments.

About half of the 240,000 students who opted out of assessments last year skipped them again this year, Elia said. They were joined by other students whose parents remained concerned by their length or purpose. Education officials will continue to address the concerns, perhaps further shortening the assessments, which are given in three-day sessions, Elia said.



“It’s an ongoing process,” Elia said, “but better standards, better curriculum and better tests will result in better outcomes.”

About 900,000 students took the assessments.

Among notable gains, Elia said, were in New York City, where English proficiency caught up to the statewide level.

In the state’s charter schools, the number of students passing English rose nearly 13 percentage points to 40.3 percent and math proficiency increased by about 4 percent, to 45.4 percent.

“The results … reinforce what we already know - charters are working for families and students across the state,” the New York director of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, Andrea Rogers, said in a statement.

Other bright spots were a slight narrowing of the achievement gap as black and Hispanic students posted bigger gains than their white peers and a strong showing by students who recently learned English but are no longer classified as English language learners.

The youngest students assessed, those in the third and fourth grades, improved more than older students, likely because they have been taught under the Common Core learning standards since kindergarten or first grade, Elia said.

In the large urban districts of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, increases in the number of students considered proficient in English lagged behind the state, while gains in math were comparable. The exception was Rochester, where the number of students who passed math dropped slightly.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide