Posted: August 7, 2013
Education Commissioner John King: Results
do not reflect a decline in performance. They are a more
accurate reflection of progress toward a rigorous new
On Wednesday, August 6, the New York State Department of Education
released district and school results for the English and math
assessments that students in grades three through eight took in the
spring of 2013 – tests that were based on the Common Core curriculum
for the first time.
As expected, sweeping changes in curriculum, testing, and scoring
practices resulted in a significant decrease in student proficiency
levels across the state, including North Colonie, compared to prior
years. State officials predicted this would be the case when the
assessments were given in the spring, and again on Wednesday
cautioned against any direct comparison of the scores with previous
According to State Education Commissioner John King, the scores
provide a new baseline for student performance based upon the
changes taking place in classrooms across the state and the country.
The Common Core standards, which are being used in 46 states, were
designed to be relevant to the kinds of skills and knowledge that
students will need to succeed in the future. As a result, education
officials say that the results released on Wednesday more accurately
reflect students’ progress toward college and career readiness.
The new curriculum requires students to learn – and teachers to
teach – new skills, concepts, and different ways of approaching
questions and solving problems. Similarly, many concepts are now
taught to students at a different time of the year or grade level
than in the past.
Because the instruction leading up to the tests and the tests
themselves are different, state officials said that the decrease in
proficiency levels should especially not be interpreted as a failure
on the part of students to learn or teachers to teach.
"The world has changed, the economy has changed, and what our
students need to know has changed," Board of Regents Chancellor
Merryl H. Tisch said in releasing the results. “These scores reflect
a new baseline and a new beginning. We have just finished the first
year of a dramatic shift in teaching and learning. Teachers,
principals, superintendents and school boards have worked
extraordinarily hard to implement the Common Core. With the right
tools, the right training, and continuous feedback and support, our
teachers –the best teaching force in the country — will make sure
all our students are prepared for college and career success in the
‘A NEW BASELINE’
As in the past, students’ scores on the tests are converted into a
scoring range of 1 through 4. Scores at level 3-4 indicate student
proficiency (4 is mastery), while levels 1-2 indicate a student is
below proficiency by grade level by some degree.
In the tests taken in 2012, the number of North Colonie students in
a given grade level who were deemed proficient ranged from 70 to 88,
depending upon the grade and subject. Statewide, this range was
between 50 percent and 69 percent.
In the 2013 results just released, the percentage of North Colonie
students scoring at proficiency levels ranged from 35 percent to 57
percent, depending on grade and subject. Statewide, this range was
28 percent to 36 percent.
Moving forward, state and district officials expect to see
instruction strengthened and scores rise as teachers and students
adapt to the new expectations and required shifts in learning.
“In North Colonie, our students worked hard to master Common Core
Learning Standards skills and knowledge,” Superintendent D. Joseph
Corr said. “Our teachers also worked hard and will continue to work
hard to develop curriculum and instructional strategies to address
the Common Core Learning Standards. As always, we have a dedicated
faculty and staff who are committed to ensuring that students
maximize lifetime opportunities by attaining academic success.
Grade 3-8 Results on New York State ELA and Math Assessments
Proficiency Levels for North Colonie and New York State
New Baseline Data
Grade 3 ELA
|Grade 3 Math
Grade 4 ELA
|Grade 4 Math
Grade 5 ELA
|Grade 5 Math
Grade 6 ELA
|Grade 6 Math
Grade 7 ELA
|Grade 7 Math
Grade 8 ELA
|Grade 8 Math
Grades 3-8 ELA Overall
|Grades 3-8 Math
What do the results mean for our schools and students?
While 46 states have adopted the Common Core standards, less than a
handful chose to test on them as New York did last spring. It will
take time for curriculum and instruction to catch up with what the
new tests measure.
As in the past, the state assessments do not factor into a student’s
grades. State test scores are used to help determine which students
may need extra help and the best ways to provide extra academic
support. State officials are said to reviewing the guidelines
surrounding the required extra help, known as Academic Intervention
Parents of students will soon receive information about their
children’s performance on the state assessments. Parents are
encouraged to reassure children that any test is just one measure,
at one point in time, of their academic progress. Students should
know that this is a new system for everyone involved, and the tests
they took were more challenging than those taken by the students
before them. If their score was lower, it in no way means that they
did worse in school last year.
While schools and parents naturally put importance on a given year’s
test results, Superintendent
Corr said the district is focused on its larger mission of preparing
students for future success.
“North Colonie has prided itself on a long tradition of preparing
our students for college and career success,” Corr said. “Annually,
93 to 95 percent of our graduating seniors are accepted to 2- and
4-year colleges, with the rest of our students who choose not to
attend college taking positions in the workforce or military. We
feel that this is a true testimony to the fine work done by our
faculty, staff and students in preparing for the challenge of
college and the workforce.”