The Clarkstown School District added more academic
intervention classes for the fall in response to students’ scores on the New
York State Assessment tests.
Parents of students at Felix Festa Middle School found this week if their child had been assigned to Math and or English intervention classes based on their scores from the state English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Assessments given in April to grades three through eight.
The district posted “academic support program” letters online explaining that state law requires some types of academic intervention for those students who scored 1 or 2 on the tests. The letters also announced two information sessions. The first on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. is for sixth grade parents and the second on Wednesday, Oct. 2 is for seventh and eighth grade parents at 6 p.m.
One parent who contacted Patch said she went to the online Parent Portal to get her daughter’s homeroom assignment and class schedule and that is how she found out her daughter was enrolled in the intervention classes and would be missing other subjects such as health and tech. The mother, who did not want to be identified, said she and other parents are not pleased with how the program has been implemented. She also expressed concern that school will be in session for three and a half weeks before many parents receive detailed information.
“But they’re not telling parents directly about it,” she said. “I’m not very happy.”
Clarkstown school officials were not available to comment on Thursday because they were dealing with the decision to close Congers Elementary School for safety reasons. They were working on alternate arrangements for Congers students and teachers for start of school on September 9th and parent information meetings on Friday and Tuesday.
The standardized tests to determine students’ skills in English and Math were redesigned to meet new standards as explained in the letters to parents.
“Last spring, your child took the New York State English and Mathematics Assessments, reflecting a significant increase in the level of rigor based on the Common Core State Standards. The test scores will serve as a baseline to continue to strengthen our level of rigor in all curricular areas. New York State mandates that students who did not attain a proficient score (Level 3 or 4) on these tests receive an Academic Intervention Service.”
These are the overall results for Festa, which has three separate schools. Of the sixth graders 15.4 percent received a Level 1 on the ELA assessment and 38.8 percent scored a Level 2. For the math assessment, 14.6 percent of the sixth graders scored Level 1 and 48.9 percent were Level 2.
Among the seventh grade students, 9.9 percent scored in Level 1 and 30.8 percent scored in Level 2 of the ELA assessment. In math, 15.7 percent scored Level 1 and 41.4 percent scored Level 2.
The results for eighth graders showed 10.6 percent and 35.5 percent respectively scoring Level 1 and 2 of the ELA assessment. In math, they scored 13.5 percent in Level 1 while 45 percent were scored Level 2.
Students faced the new tests earlier this year designed to reflect the more challenging common core standards adopted by New York in 2010, making it difficult to make comparisons of the test scores to previous years. The relatively low numbers of students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards raised concerns. In New York State, 31 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency in math and 31.1 percent did so in ELA.
The results for the Clarkstown District can be found here by scrolling to page 1455.