Clarkstown School Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr.
Margaret Ruller gave an overview of the New York State Assessment Program and
the district’s test results compared to other Rockland districts and the state
average at Thursday’s school board meeting.
Dr. Ruller emphasized the spring 2013 tests were the first given under new standards and the expected drop in proficiency levels from prior years’ tests did occur.
“Instruction has not yet quite caught up with the rigors of the Common Core Learning Standards,” said Dr. Ruller.
She said that changes in curriculum and teaching approaches were being reviewed and planned and that scores were expected to rise in the future. Dr. Ruller said overall Clarkstown students in the third through eighth grades scored better than the statewide average and were on a par with other local school districts such as Pearl River, South Orangetown and Nyack with Nanuet scoring higher.
She showed a series of slides comparing the district’s scores to the other Rockland school districts and statewide averages. In Clarkstown, 51 percent of the third through eighth grade students received a Level 1 or 2 score and 49 percent received a Level 3 or 4 score on the ELA (English Language Arts) assessment. The statewide average for Levels 1 and 2 was 69 percent and 31 percent for Levels 3 and 4.
Eric Sigman, K-12 STEM coordinator, explained the math assessment results. On the math assessment, 55 percent of Clarkstown students in grades three through eight received a Level 1 or 2 and 45 percent received a Level 3 or 4. The statewide average was 69 percent of students scoring a Level 1 or 2 and 31 percent scoring a Level 3 or 4. The state initially directed school districts to provide additional remediation for all students who scored a 1 or 2 on the ELA and math tests but has revised that mandate.
Board member Robert Carlucci expressed disappointment with the scores.
“I’m not impressed with what I’ve seen,” he said.
Dr. Ruller said her staff, which makes up the Curriculum Instruction Assessment Team, is working with teachers and administrators to go over what curriculum is in place and what needs to be rewritten. She also said representatives of all the county’s districts have been meeting and sharing information.
“We would expect that the scores would improve this year,” said Dr. Ruller referring to the tests that will be administered in the spring of 2014.
On Monday, Commissioner of Education Dr. John B. King, Jr. will participate in a community forum to discuss Common Core Learning Standards and other educational reforms at Port Chester Middle School in Westchester County from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. New York State Regent Harry Philips and Assemblyman Steve Otis will join King at the forum in the school auditorium.
On Tuesday, the Clarkstown district will hold a meeting on the Common Core for parents from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Chestnut Grove offices. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions.