Last year’s NY State Mathematics and English/Language Arts (ELA) proficiency requirement changes sent a shock wave through many school districts, whose administration feared the inevitable decline of standardized test scores and the increase in students requiring Academic Intervention Services (AIS).
Despite the increase in the cutoff score for standardized test results for students in grades 3-8, the Mamaroneck School district improved the number of students reaching or exceeding proficiency levels on Math tests from 78 percent in 2009-10 to 84 percent in 2010-11 and from 74 percent in 2009-10 to 79 percent in 2010-11 on ELA tests said Debbie Manetta, spokesperson for the district.
A complete score report for students from , , , ,, and are available by clicking to the right of this article. Tools for understanding the data as well as last year's score reports are also available on the NY Eduation Department website.
“Our emphasis is always on continuous improvement,” said Manetta, who said the district was pleased by the scores that were released Monday by the NY State Education Department.
stipulate a higher cutoff score than 650 for students to move forward. For example, third graders must now earn a base score of 684—not 650—on their ELA tests to earn a Level 3, the minimum level for proficiency. In Math, eighth graders must have a minimum score of 673 to earn a Level 3. Any child falling at or below a score of 650 will be required to have AIS, which is meant to assist struggling students achieve the learning standard by providing additional support at various levels. A full list of the new proficiency requirements can be viewed here.
The state will hold districts harmless from the expected impact of the change in reduced scores for the 2010-11 school year, however, to avoid overwhelming them with increased demand for AIS providers.
“We’re always assessing student’s performance and the district has been working on a new assessment tool that was introduced last fall that looks at student’s strengths and areas of weakness,” said Manetta, referring to the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center (LHRIC) Level 1 data system, to analyze student performance on all New York state assessments (English, Language Arts (ELA) and math/science). This tool would disaggregate all state testing data to be in compliance with Academic Intervention Services (AIS) regulations.
As discussed at an , the school is also utilizing individual intervention programs based on a tier system, which is part of a program called Response to Intervention (RTI). The RTI program administers research-validated interventions in Tiers II-IV to children who are falling behind in their schoolwork. If the child fails to show improvement after the intervention, that can be viewed as evidence of a learning disability.
“Any student not reaching proficiency level, individual schools will pay close attention to trying to assess why they are not at that level and where weaknesses may lie,” said Manetta.
Editor's Note: The percentage of students reaching or exceeding proficiency levels on the Math and ELA tests was clarified to indicate that improvement occurred from the 2009-10 to 2010-11 school year.