Editor's Note: This article was written by Wantagh Superintendent Maureen Goldberg.
Dear Parents and Community Residents,
You may have seen in the media an overview of the latest student assessment results reported by the State Education Department.
Earlier this year, students in grades 3-8 were required to participate in the New York State English language arts and math assessments. These assessments were based on the new more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards, which were introduced in the 2012-13 school year.
Prior to the implementation of these assessments, we expressed our strong concerns to the State Education Department and Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr. regarding the validity of the assessment outcomes. These concerns were validated in a memo from Commissioner King, dated Aug. 2, stating “scores are expected to be significantly lower than the 2011-12 scores...effectively creating a new baseline measurement for student learning. We have included a copy of a letter from Dr. King to parents which he asked to be provided to you.
We concur with the commissioner that the significant decrease in this year’s assessment results, experienced throughout New York State, is not attributable to a decline in student performance or inadequate classroom instruction, but reflects the fact that the assessments were prematurely implemented before students could be effectively instructed in the new, more rigorous, Common Core Learning Standards curriculum. While the SED established the cut scores, which determined the new proficiency levels, it should be further noted that it is impossible to accurately compare student progress using prior year’s assessment results since the previous scores are from an evaluation based on former standards.
There appears to be no correlation between these latest test assessment results and Wantagh students’ ability to be college and career ready as evidenced by the 97.33 percent rate of college attendance by our class of 2013. Our graduates attend some of the most prominent and prestigious colleges and universities in the country and have received academic awards and scholarships in excess of $2.7 million.
While we are obliged to provide you with these assessment results, we feel equally obligated to provide the appropriate information needed to understand the significant decrease in individual scores from prior years. We take great pride in the quality education we provide to all students in our school district. This year’s assessment results are not an accurate reflection of our students’ ability to learn nor the instructional skills of our professional staff.
You will receive your child’s individual scores directly from Nassau BOCES early in September.