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SRC test scores below standards

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MALONE - Anywhere from 77 percent to 94.7 percent of Salmon River Central School District students grades three through eight scored well below to below proficient standards on state English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics assessments, dependent on subject and grade level.

Results for the April 2013 assessments in ELA and math were released by the New York State Education Department on Aug. 7. This is the first year that the tests measure the Common Core Learning Standards that were adopted by the State Board of Regents in 2010. Score releases this year have been drastically lower statewide, with only 31.1 percent of grade three through eight students having met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard, and 31 percent the math proficiency standard.

“I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers, and principals. It’s frustrating to see our children struggle,” said New York State Education Commissioner John King in a statement. “But we can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity.”

Franklin County as a whole is reported as having met or exceeded proficiency in 11.3 to 26.3 percent of students, also dependent on subject and grade level. This puts Salmon River School district generally below county standards.

It is stressed by the NYSED that the assessment results do not mean that schools are performing any worse than before, or any less was taught this year. They do, however, offer a better look at how schools are performing in an age where students need to be college and career ready.

“Results on this year’s grades three through eight State English and math tests may suggest that the tests were tougher than in the past, but we must recognize that they were designed to measure learning differently than in the past,” said Lana Ajemian, President of the NYS Parent Teachers Association, in a statement. “We can’t view a drop in scores as indicative of diminished student capability or ineffective instruction. The outcomes should instead provide a basis from which to build instruction and support for the new model – to better inform both parents and teachers of where students are and what is needed to enhance their abilities to not only learn but to integrate and apply knowledge that will better prepare them for college and career.”

According to NYSED’s Engage New York website, the shifts in learning advertised by the Common Core Curriculum in English language are a greater focus on evidence-based conversations and arguments about literature, and reading of increasingly complex texts of both informational (i.e. news) and literary variety. In math, subjects will be focused on more narrowly and deeply, and carefully connect curriculums across grades. Simple calculations are expected to be done with speed and accuracy.

Salmon River School District Superintender Jane Collins did not return a request for comment.

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