Test scores just the start

The scores local students – and those across the state – earned on last spring’s standardized state tests generally marked a sharp drop from prior years, which came as no surprise.

Education officials had warned for months that math and English test scores – released Wednesday – which reflect students’ performance on new, Common Core-aligned assessments, would drop.

They were right.

Only 11.6 percent of Gloversville Enlarged School District eighth-grade students met or exceeded the standards on the math test last spring. The year before, 46 percent scored at that level. Most districts saw similar drops in student performance.

New York state was one of the first states to align its standardized tests with the federal Common Core standards that 46 states have adopted. The Common Core standards are supposed to increase the rigor of school curricula to better prepare students for college and careers.

Across the state, many students said the tests were too difficult to complete in the allotted time. Some teachers noted they did not know exactly what information would be on the test, making it difficult to prepare students.

While we understand those concerns, ultimately, we hope teachers, students – and their parents – give these tougher standards a chance.

While scores on state assessments have been a prominent factor in determining if a student needs formal remedial instruction, the state is reviewing its guidelines in light of the changes to the testing. State Education?Commissioner John?B. King noted the latest scores will not negatively affect district, school, principal or teacher accountability.

As frustrating as this experience was, we expect teachers and students will get used to the standards and do a better job of meeting them.

We often hear students who graduate from high school are unprepared for work or college. Parents do not send their children to high school with the idea their children will have to take remedial English classes in college.

The end result of higher standards hopefully will be students who are ready to handle the academic work they will encounter in college or young people who can confidently move into the work force.