Imagine you’re at home, it’s a little more than two weeks before school starts and you get a letter in the mail that begins as follows: “In accordance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s flexibility waiver, the State Education Department issued a new institutional accountability system that monitors student proficiency and growth based on subgroup analysis.”
While this year’s student proficiency scores showed overall improvement statewide, local superintendents say that recent changes in testing design and implementation mean those results don’t reflect student performance accurately.
For the past few years, parents and educators have rallied against the state’s latest system of so-called high-stakes testing, which ties teacher evaluations to the controversial Common Core standards. Their principal strategy has been the opt-out movement, under which students refuse to take mandated assessment tests.
In response to the large numbers of students who have opted out of state-mandated testing in previous years, New York State education officials recently compromised by agreeing to hold off until 2020 on tying test results to teacher ratings.
The number of students opting out of state-mandated math assessments this year increased across the board on the North Fork, mirroring a trend seen last week with the required English Language Arts tests.
A large percentage of students in Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River refused to take the state-mandated English Language Arts assessment Tuesday, according to numbers provided by school officials.
Three of the four Riverhead schools recently flagged by the state for failing test scores are responding with plans to increase teacher collaboration and communication with parents, according to self-review reports recently released by the district.
About 34.8 percent of students in the Riverhead School District that were expected to take state-mandated math assessments Wednesday declined to sit for the exams, the News-Review has confirmed.
Superintendent Nancy Carney said 812 students out of 2,332 did not take math assessments, which are in progress through Friday.
[Related story: Did more outspoken leadership play a role in ‘opt out’ results?]
“We have about 100 students who are taking the regents (advanced math) in 8th grade instead of the 8th grade assessment,” Ms. Carney wrote in an email.
In 2014, about 15 percent of the district’s students didn’t take the math assessments. Last week, 26 percent of the district’s third through eight graders declined to take the English Language Arts assessments.
Correction: The story has been updated to reflect Nancy Carney’s email to the News-Review about eighth-grade math assessments. The News-Review regrets the error.