The city has released school test scores, and once again P.S. 304 and M.S. 101 were standouts among non-charter schools in the borough.
However, principals are getting calls from parents who are concerned that test scores appear to have fallen.
The state Board of Regents changed the criteria for the way annual tests in English Language Arts and Math for students are graded. Test scores, as a result, dropped, in some cases as much as 30%.
Joseph Nobile, principal of P.S. 304 2750 Lafayette Avenue, said that his school scored highest of all schools in the area in several different combinations of subjects and grades on the most recent test, even though overall numbers had declined from their record highs.
“People should realize that any decline they may see in test scores has nothing to do with the school, its students or the teachers doing anything less in terms of effort,” Nobile said. “We are viewing the scores using different measurement and numbering tools than before.”
Nobile said because of a change in the way the test is graded, the number of students receiving a ‘level 3’ passing grade fell dramically. This is even though the test is basically the same as last year’s, and the students are still getting the same amount of questions right and wrong.
“The cutoff for what becomes a level 2 or a level 3 grade is now a higher number of correct answers,” Nobile explained. “I would have prefered that they change the scoring when they develop the new test, called New Core Standards, which is scheduled to be used next year. I can understand why the change was made. Too many schools are getting too close to the ceiling.”
P.S. 304’s scores in English and Math were higher under the old scoring method, but dropped under the new scoring procedure.
In English, the school’s students scored 59.4% proficent in the third grade, 55.5% in the fourth grade, and 67.6% in the fifth grade. In Math, P.S. 304 scored 78.2% proficent in the third grade, 80.2% proficent in the fourth grade, and 92.6% proficent in the fifth grade.
Nobile is proud of the results and feels that the students and teachers both deserve credit.
At M.S. 101, which shares a building with P.S. 304, student success was also apparent even with the changed scoring system.
In Math, M.S. 101 scored 83.5% preficint in the sixth grade, 77.7% in the seventh, and 80.3% in the eighth.
In English, M.S. 101 students scored 70.9% proficient in sixth grade, 67.1% proficent in the seventh grade, and 89.5% in the eighth grade.
M.S. 101 principal Kim Hampton-Hewitt said that the success of her school in English, where they led the Bronx, was due to the school’s professional learning teams, which consist of teachers and administrators that met weekly to discuss student progress.
©2010 Community News Group