August 7, 2016 -- The New York State Department of Education released the English Language Arts and Math Common Core examination scores for grades 3-8 on July 28, and, as has been the trend for the past several years, North Shore School District students scored significantly higher on average than students across the state and county, and more or less in the middle of school districts along the north shore of Nassau County - some among the most affluent in the state.
However, the large number of "opt outs" this year, with 45% of North Shore's students boycotting the tests, and the obvious relationship between affluence and performance call into question the reliability of using the scores to evaluate how well the district prepares its students for the exams compared to others; and the questionable validity of the exams themselves - how well schools actually educate their children.
Along Nassau County's north shore, with one exception (Great Neck), and across the island, there was a strong correlation between the percentages of students in a district who are economically disadvantaged or who are "English Language Learners" and the percentage of students failing to achieve "proficiency" levels on the exams. In Glen Cove, for instance, with 63% of students designated economically disadvantaged, according to federal guidelines, and 14% English Language Learners, only 29% of students scored "proficient" on both exams. In North Shore, with only 6% of students economically disadvantaged and 1% English Language Learners, 69% achieved prociency on the ELA exam and 76% on the math.
Of all districts on Long Island, Jericho had the highest percentage of students scoring in the proficiency range . However only 4% of its students are labelled economically disadvantaged. Manhasset, with only 5% of its population economically disadvantaged, had the second highest percentage of students achieving proficiency levels on both exams.
Across New York State and at North Shore, a greater percentage of students achieved a designation of "proficient" this year on both the ELA and Math exams as compared to last year. At North Shore, 69% of the 55% of students who sat for the ELA achieved "proficiency" as opposed to the 60% who achieve that status last year, and 76% of the 57% of students who took the Math exam earned that designation compared to the 69% who sat for the exam in 2015.
New York State Commissioner of Education Mary Ellen Elia announced this past spring that there would be a moratorium until 2018 on using test results to evaluate the performance of teachers.
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North Shore's Scores, 2015 and 2016 ELA (left) and Math (right)
North Shore Compared to the Rest of Nassau County (ELA - left; Math - right)