YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The New York State Education Department released the results of the math and English Language Arts (ELA) exams taken by all New York students in grades three through eight this past May. According to the results, the percentage of Yorktown students deemed proficient in those subjects greatly exceed the Westchester County averages in grades six through eight. In grades three through five, the district has relatively similar scores as the county average.
We will use these results, like we do every year to unpack them and drill down to the items we need to examine, and determine what we need to address in our teaching, said Florence OConnor, deputy superintendent for the district.
Students scores fell into one of four categories. The first two indicate a student is below proficiency. A student at level three meets the proficiency standard, while a level four student exceeds it.
The most significant differences between the county and the towns percentage of students who achieved a level four in math were in eighth grade -- with Yorktown scoring 64.4 percent and Westchester at 26.2 percent, in seventh grade -- with Yorktown scoring 65.6 percent and the county at 39.9 percent, and sixth grade -- with the town scoring 47.7 percent and the county at 34.8 percent.
In those same grade levels for ELA, Yorktowns results were very close to the county average.
The most notable difference between students in math for Yorktown and the county is in fourth grade, where 31.6 percent of Yorktown students ranked at a level four, with the county average 37 percent.
Still, in every assessment level and subject where Yorktown did not meet the county average for level four, they surpassed it with the percentage of students who obtained level three.
Last year, New York State raised the proficiency standards to better reflect the level of achievement needed to indicate that a student is on track. They also made changes to the testing system by including more multiple choice questions on both the math and English exams and requiring at least one full essay on each grade's English tests.
The changes resulted in a significant drop in the percentage of students classified as level four in ELA because, before, the tests had too few items to measure the level four cut score as accurately as the department would want, said the state. While most students met or exceeded the states proficiency standards in both categories, overall performance remained low and the gaps in achievement persist, according to a press release from the education department.
The results show only 52.8 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded (level three and four) in the ELA, a decrease from 53.2 percent last year. The math scores went up across the state however, where 63.3 percent of students met or exceeded the standard, an increased from 61 percent last year.
Deputy Superintendent OConnor explained that the school district is always working to align the curriculum, instruction and assessments, and at times when the tests are changed, like they were for ELA and math, the data can teach the schools how to re-align the instruction.
The measure of how everybody was doing was changed, so we are going to use that data to learn, and to embed new approaches so we can align ourselves with the assessments, she said. We are constantly changing, we are always going to continue to work on what we call our continual course improvement, and we use the state tests, among others, to measure how were doing. What we will do now is examine these results, and focus on where we can improve.
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