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News and Notes: Grades 3-8 Assessment Results (August 2014)

Below is an excerpt from the August 2014 edition of News and Notes, a newsletter from the Office of P-12 Education at the New York State Education Department. The excerpt is from Commissioner King's message and is regarding the grades 3-8 assessments. To view the edition in its entirety, click here.

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released the 2014 Grades 3-8 ELA and math test results. This was the second time we measured student progress on New York's Common Core Learning Standards. It was an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to support and improve teaching and student learning as we work toward the goal of college and career readiness for all students.
In July, we authorized the Regional Information Centers (RICs) to make available secure instructional reports that indicate whether a student answered each test question correctly and the learning standard measured by the question. These item analysis reports allow for comparisons of strengths and areas in need of additional support at the classroom, school, district, and regional levels.
In addition, we released 50% of the test questions in August, with detailed explanations of correct and incorrect responses. These annotated test questions allow for a more nuanced understanding of how the Common Core Learning Standards are measured on our tests.
This year, for the first time, assessment results were presented based on the performance of all students who took an exam last year (2013) compared with those same students in the following year (2014) at the next grade level. This "matched students" approach focuses on growth in student learning and provides more useful data than an approach that compares the performance of one year's students at a particular grade level against the next year's cohort of students at that same grade level.
There was significant progress in math across all types of schools and districts and all student subgroups. However, the results were flatter in English Language Arts. There was only slight progress in ELA, with variation among schools and districts - even significant variation among schools within the same district. In particular, although there was an increase in student scores New York City and other higher need and larger school districts (e.g., Yonkers), there were year-to-year decreases in our lower need school districts.

To view the rest of the edition, click here.