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Results of grades 3-8 testing show decrease

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Scores drop in Liberty, Sullivan County and across the state; officials maintain results represent a new standard for measuring performance under the Common Core

On August 7, the State Education Department released results of the ELA and math assessments taken last spring by students in grades three through eight. The tests were the first to be given based on the new, more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards. As predicted, the massive changes in curriculum, testing and scoring practices resulted in a significant decrease in performance in Liberty and throughout the state.

State officials predicted in March, 2013 that this decrease was to be expected and as early as November, 2012 Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch stated “If, as a result of a new standard, we see a temporary dip in the performance on standardized tests, I would welcome that temporary dip as a way of taking us to a place where we know we really need to go.”

Liberty saw this predicted drop in scores, with 22.05 percent of students in grades 3-8 scoring a level 3 or 4 on the ELA exams and 16.38 percent scoring at that level on the math exam. Similar to previous years, students’ scores on the tests are converted into a scoring range of 1 through 4. Under the new Common Core-aligned system, New York’s students will be scored according to the following scale:

Level 4: Student excels in Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) for his/her grade level.
Level 3: Student is proficient in CCLS for his/her grade level.
Level 2: Student is not proficient in CCLS for the grade level (partially proficient, but insufficient).
Level 1: Student is well below proficient in standards for the grade level

The overall proficiency rates (those scoring at a 3 or 4) for Liberty, Sullivan County and New York State are listed in the charts below:

ELA Liberty Sullivan Co. NY State
grade 3 27.7 20.8 31.1
grade 4 20.2 17.9 30.3
grade 5 25.5 19 30.2
grade 6 17.4 20.9 29.6
grade 7 25.5 19.7 31.3
grade 8 18.7 21.2 33.8
OVERALL: 22.05% 19.92% 31.1%

MATH Liberty Sullivan Co. NY State
grade 3 23.8 22.6 34.2
grade 4 20.7 24.4 36.4
grade 5 13.7 15.2 29.9
grade 6 14.5 15.1 30.6
grade 7 16.1 11.4 27.7
grade 8 11.4 10 17.5
OVERALL: 16.7% 16.45% 31.1%

What do the results mean for our schools and our students?

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.

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 Learning Standards (CCLS), which are being used in 46 states, were designed to be relevant to the kinds of skills and knowledge that students will need to succeed in the future. As a result, education officials say that the scores released on August 7 more accurately reflect students’ progress toward college and career readiness and will ultimately strengthen instructional programs.

Liberty Superintendent Dr. William Silver cautioned parents to take the results ‘with a grain of salt.’

“These tests represent a single data point,” explained Silver. “It is a single measure and is not indicative of the success or failure or areas of weakness or strength in our students. These tests will never be the ultimate factor in determining student success at Liberty. Academic wellness depends on all parts of our students' education, not just a single test.”

Where do we go from here?

Now that the first year is over, Liberty administrators and teachers plan to dig deep into the test results and look for patterns and ways to improve instruction. In the coming year, Liberty will continue to study the Common Core curriculum, provide more teacher training, and find ways to reduce student, parent and teacher anxiety about the tests.

Parents are being encouraged to become even more involved in their children's education—to learn more about the Common Core, to know what's happening in the classroom and to look for ways to support learning at home.

“The new standards are a challenge for all of us – students, teachers and parents,” said Assistant Superintendent Carol Napolitano. “The home/school connection is critical. By working together, I have no doubt that next year’s scores will look very different.”

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Links to important information about Common Core Learning Standards and Grades 3-8 testing:


District & School Performance Report

New York State Education Dept. Report of Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math Assessment Results for ALL DISTRICTS in NYS. (Liberty scores can be found at page 1,747.)


Aug. 7, 2013 Letter to Parents from NYS Ed. Commissioner John King


Aug. 7, 2013 news release-NYS Ed. Commissioner John King


Letter about 3-8 Testing from Larry Thomas, S.C. BOCES Superintendent read letter
This website is the most up-to-date resource about the NYS Common Core Learning Standards.

Parents Backpack Guide to Common Core State Standards


Common Core State Standards Initiative


National PTA- Parents' Guide to Student Success

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