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NY Education Officials Banking On ‘Incremental Progress’ On Standardized Test Scores

Teachers Were Being Trained In Common Core Curriculum Thursday
NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott attends Common Core teacher training session, August 8, 2013. (credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott attends Common Core teacher training session, August 8, 2013. (credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – City and state education officials met with teachers Thursday, one day after the New York State standardized test scores were released.

Less than a third of New York students in grades three through eight scored well enough on statewide tests to be considered proficient in math and English last spring, according to results released Wednesday.

However, education officials cautioned that the steep drop from previous years reflected a rise in standards, not a decline in student performance.

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This year’s tests were based on the tougher new Common Core curriculum, and the drop in scores was anticipated.

The United Federation of Teachers has blamed the low test scores in part on lack of teaching materials.

New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and New York State Education Commissioner John King visited Murry Bergtraum High School in lower Manhattan Thursday where teachers were being trained on the Common Core curriculum.

“I think the most difficult part of it was getting resources,” a teacher told Walcott.

The schools chancellor maintained that the union is wrong in its assessment.

“So in New York City we’ve been doing this for three years and we started the pilot out and we’ve had over 400,000 downloads off of our Common Core library. We have individuals who’ve been trained and working with our schools,” said Walcott.

“I think what we’ll see is incremental progress over the next few years,” King added.

Education officials also announced more resources are coming this fall.

“We have over a million new books coming into schools this year,” said New York City Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky. “This year, we have over 15,000 teachers in the summer, which is a big number for us. But we’re going to see every teacher during the course of the year.”

Test results showed that 31 percent of students statewide met or exceeded math and English proficiency standards on tests given over six days in April. Last year, 55 percent of students were considered proficient in English and 65 percent met the benchmark in math.

The tests traditionally have been used to measure student and school performance. But student growth on the tests is also now a universal factor in teacher and principal evaluations that New York requires from each of its 700 districts.

King said because of the changing standards, this year’s tests would not be used to label any new districts or schools as failing.

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