FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 2013
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman, or Antonia Valentine
State Education Department Releases Grades 3-8 Assessment Results
State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today released the results of the April 2013 grades 3-8 math and English Language Arts (ELA) assessments. This year’s state assessments are the first for New York students to measure the Common Core Learning Standards that were adopted by the State Board of Regents in 2010. King said that, as expected, the percentage of students deemed proficient is significantly lower than in 2011-12. This change in scores – which will effectively create a new baseline of student learning – is largely the result of the shift in the assessments to measure the Common Core Standards, which more accurately reflect students’ progress toward college and career readiness.
King emphasized that the results do not reflect a decrease in performance for schools or students. The new assessments are a better, more accurate tool for educators, students, and parents as they work together to address the rigorous demands of the Common Core and college and career readiness in the 21st century.
“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. “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 21st century.
“Our students face very real challenges. But it’s better to have our students challenged now – when teachers and parents are there to help – than frustrated later when they start college or try to find a job and discover they are unprepared.”
“These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century,” King said. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers, and principals. It’s frustrating to see our children struggle. But we can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity. The results we’ve announced today are not a critique of past efforts; they’re a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.
“We all share the same goal: to make sure all students in New York have the skills and knowledge to be successful in college and careers. With the Common Core, we’re building a ladder toward that goal; the assessment scores are a measure of where our students are on that ladder and give us a clearer, more accurate picture of the climb ahead.”
King said these new results are consistent with other indicators of the college and career readiness of New York State students including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), New York State student performance on the SAT and PSAT, and college and career ready scores on New York State’s high school Regents exams.
King noted that the scores will not negatively impact district, school, principal, or teacher accountability. No new districts will be identified as Focus Districts and no new schools will be identified as Priority schools based on 2012-13 assessment results. The student growth scores used in teacher and principal evaluation result in similar proportions of educators earning each rating category (Highly Effective, etc) for student growth in 2012-13 as 2011-12. The State provided growth scores to be used in teacher and principal evaluations are based on year-to-year comparisons for similar students.
Earlier this month, King sent a memo to school district superintendents, urging them to recognize that this is the first year of the new assessments and recommending judicious and thoughtful use of each measure of the State’s multiple measures evaluation system. In addition, the Department is providing guidance for districts to ensure that students are not negatively impacted by the new proficiency rates. The first cohort of students required to pass Common Core-aligned Regents exams for high school graduation will be the class of 2017. The Board of Regents has asked the Department to adjust its guidance on Academic Intervention Services (AIS) as well.
The “cut” scores used to rate students’ proficiency level on a scale of 1-4 were set by a panel of 95 teachers, principals and other educators from around the state at a five-day conference in June.
Tisch and King both expressed concern that the learning gap for low income students, African-American and Hispanic students, and English Language Learners remains unacceptable.
Summary of Statewide 3-8 Exam Results:
- 31.1% of grade 3-8 students across the State met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 31% met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
- The ELA proficiency results for race/ethnicity groups across grades 3-8 reveal the persistence of the achievement gap: only 16.1% of African-American students and 17.7% of Hispanic students met or exceeded the proficiency standard
- 3.2% of English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades 3-8 met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 9.8% of ELLs met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
- 5% of students with disabilities met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 7% of students with disabilities met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
Across the Big 5 city school districts, a smaller percentage of students met or exceeded the ELA and math proficiency standards than in the rest of the state:
- In Buffalo, 11.5% of students met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 9.6% met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
- In Yonkers, 16.4% of students met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 14.5% met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
- In New York City, 26.4% of students met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 29.6% met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
- In Rochester, 5.4% of students met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 5% met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
- In Syracuse, 8.7% of students met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard; 6.9% met or exceeded the math proficiency standard
A summary of the test results, as well as individual school and district results, are available at: