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Port Chester Scores Drop On New Statewide Exams

Port Chester students in grades three through eight saw their scores drop on standardized tests after the state changed formats to match the Common Core curriculum.
Port Chester students in grades three through eight saw their scores drop on standardized tests after the state changed formats to match the Common Core curriculum. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice File Photo

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Standardized testing scores for students in grades three through eight dropped significantly this year in Port Chester and across New York after a change to the state's math and English language arts assessment tests.

According to the state's assessment, 18.3 percent of Port Chester students in grades three through eight met or exceeded proficiency in English Language Arts, and 18.9 percent met or exceeded proficiency in math. Last year, 55 percent met or exceeded proficiency in ELA and 65.9 percent met or exceeded proficiency in math.

The lower scores do not reflect a poorer performance by students, but rather a change in the testing procedure brought on by the switch the Common Core curriculum.

"They appear to be lower, but that's what we expected. We were warned for months that might be the case," said Port Chester Schools Superintendent Edward Klizsus. He said that the scores can't be compared to last year's because the standards and norms have changed. Instead, the district will be comparing its scores against other districts that usually perform at a similar level.

"I think we're going to gradually see them go up," Klizsus said. He compared it to 1999, when the state rolled out new tests that districts had to adjust to. "We've seen this process multiple times before."

The state results show the following grade-by-grade percentages for Port Chester students:

  • Grade Three - 20.8 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in ELA, and 21.8 percent met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in math. The Westchester County average was 40.6 percent for ELA and 41.2 percent for math.
  • Grade Four - 15.1 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in ELA, and 25.1 percent met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in math. The Westchester County average was 41.6 percent for ELA and 46.1 percent for math.
  • Grade Five - 15.4 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in ELA, and 15.7 percent met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in math. The Westchester County average was 41 percent for ELA and 39.4 percent for math.
  • Grade Six - 19.9 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in ELA, and 17.9 percent met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in math. The Westchester County average was 46.6 percent for ELA and 40.6 percent for math.
  • Grade Seven - 17.2 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in ELA, and 17.8 percent met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in math. The Westchester County average was 41.1 percent for ELA and 37.3 percent for math.
  • Grade Eight - 21.4 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in ELA, and 15.3 percent met or exceeded proficiency for their grade in math. The Westchester County average was 44.2 percent for ELA and 37 percent for math.

Since the tests were administered, Port Chester staff and teachers have received training in Common Core and will be using modules provided by the state. He said it might have been better if the state had administered the tests in a pilot program for the first year, but suspects that districts all over the state are in a similar situation.

The statewide results show that 31.1 percent of New York students met or exceeded proficiency in ELA, and 31 percent met or exceeded proficiency in math. State officials say that they do not intend to identify any new "Focus Districts" or "Priority schools" based on this year's exam results.

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