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Grades 3-8 New York State test scores released

| August 15, 2014

The New York State Department of Education has released district and school results for the English, Language, Arts and Math assessments that students in grades three through eight took in the spring of 2014.

This is the second year of state assessments being aligned to the Common Core learning standards. These standards have brought about sweeping changes in curriculum, instruction, and testing. 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 across the nation, were designed to be relevant to the kinds of skills and knowledge that students will need to succeed in the future and achieve 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.

During the 2012-13 school year, North Colonie students in Grades 3-8 achieved an overall proficiency of 47 percent in Math. For the 2013-14 school year, that number increased to 59 percent.

English, Language, Arts (ELA)
During the 2012-13 school year, North Colonie students in Grades 3-8 achieved an overall proficiency of 48 percent in ELA. For the 2013-14 school year, 46 percent of students were proficient in ELA. However, when the district looks at individual grade level performance scores, there are gains in both ELA and Math. In addition, North Colonie students out-perform students in the state by a large percentage.

Grade 3-8 Results on New York State ELA Assessments
Proficiency Levels for North Colonie and New York State

  2012-13 2012-13 2013-14 2013-14
Grade/Test North Colonie NYS North Colonie NYS
Grade 3 ELA 48% 31% 42% 31.8%
Grade 4 ELA 35% 30% 46% 33.2%
Grade 5 ELA 45% 30% 37% 29.7%
Grade 6 ELA 47% 30% 43% 28.9%
Grade 7 ELA 54% 31% 50% 29.5%
Grade 8 ELA 57% 34% 59% 35.5%
Grades 3-8 ELA Overall 48% 31% 46% 31.4%

Grade 3-8 Results on New York State Math Assessments
Proficiency Levels for North Colonie and New York State

  2012-13 2012-13 2013-14 2013-14
Grade/Test North Colonie NYS North Colonie NYS
Grade 3 Math 41% 34% 58% 42.2%
Grade 4 Math 46% 36% 62% 42.6%
Grade 5 Math 42% 30% 53% 40%
Grade 6 Math 47% 31% 60% 38.1%
Grade 7 Math 52% 28% 56% 32.9%
Grade 8 Math 54% 28% 65% 22.2%
Grades 3-8 Math Overall 47% 31% 59% 35.8%

“Overall, our results show maintenance of performance in ELA and substantial growth in Math,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “Our teachers continue to work diligently at aligning curriculum instruction and assessment to the rigor of the common core. Especially in the area of mathematics, our results show the quality of our teachers’ efforts. While the positive results for our district are a source of great pride, the transition for North Colonie continues as well. We realize it’s a constant work in progress.”

What do the results mean for our schools and students?

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. 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 of their academic progress. If their score was lower, it in no way means that they did worse in school last year. This is just one measurement of student progress.

“The district is still focused on its larger mission of educating the entire child and preparing them for future success as college students and eventual productive members of the workforce,” said Superintendent Corr. “We relay the same message to our district families as we do to our teachers: student assessments are only one measure of student success and one part of our overall comprehensive program. We have ample data to suggest our students are college and career ready. 93 to 95 percent of our graduating seniors are accepted to two and four year colleges. Students who choose not to attend college take positions in the workforce or the military. Clearly, this is indicative of the fine work done by our faculty, staff, and students in the challenge of preparing our students for college and career readiness.”

A closer look at Grades 4 and 8 science scores

One aspect of the 2013-14 assessment process that the district is especially proud of is the performance of our fourth and eighth grade students on the NYS Science Assessment. The Science Assessment includes both a written portion and a performance task where students have to apply the skills of science in a laboratory setting. 94 percent of North Colonie students, district wide, achieved proficiency.

“As we analyze all of our data from state assessments for the 2013-14 school year, we see our students continue to make gains,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Kathleen Skeals. “With the state’s release of more test questions than in the past, we are able to better diagnose areas that are in need of improvement. That being said, North Colonie students continue to out-perform students across the state.”

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