Student test scores from March were finally released on Wednesday and schools upstate seem to be scoring lower than New York City.
The New York Education Department explains that the scores this years cannot be compared to previous years, since the number of days the test was conducted lowered from three to two days.
Here is what we do know, out of the Big Five school districts, Rochester did receive the lowest scores in both English and Math. there is also still a gap seen in race, with Black and Hispanic students scoring lower than white students.
“Our staff has worked closely with Rochester to try and improve the outcome, particularly, in struggling schools,” MaryEllen Elia, the State Education Commissioner, said.
“It is time we come together as a state and really analyze and look at how we can support the teachers and students in Rochester,” Jolene DiBrango, Vice President of NYSUT, said.
Next year, student test scores will be used in part to evaluate teachers, which the teacher’s union has been very vocal against. The bill to decouple test scores from teacher evaluations failed in the Senate last year, but there will be another big push this year to keep this from happening.
“The testing system to us is broken, it needs to be fixed. The move from three to two days was a start, but the tests themselves are developmentally inappropriate.”
However, there were fewer students this year that refused to take the test. The teacher’s union says this still does little to show parent’s true feelings about the exam.
“It was a one percent decrease, so I don’t really feel like it’s a big decrease. Parents know what’s best for their children and if they felt the testing system was fixed then I would imagine you would see a real decrease in opting out.”
In order to change this, this has to happen on a legislative level. Elia said they are working on hearing from teachers across the state on teacher evaluations, but cautions hasty changes.
“When we do things fast in New York State, we don’t usually do them well. I suggest that teacher voices need to be heard. We will be having forums and teacher focus groups across the state,” Elia said.