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Liberty students in grades 3-8 see growth in state test scores

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Proficiency rate up from previous year

Student achievement in the Liberty Central School District is moving in a positive trend, but local test scores were still below statewide averages on New York state assessments, according to data released by the State Education Department (SED).

In late July, SED released district and school results for the English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessments taken in spring 2016 by students in grades 3-8.

As in the past, students' scores on the tests are converted into a scoring range of 1 through 4 meant to indicate their degree of proficiency in the Common Core standards for the grade level. Scores at levels 3-4 indicate proficiency (4 means that a student excels in the standards), while levels 1-2 indicate a student is below proficiency.

Results show Liberty students’ combined levels 3-4 proficiency rates were 19 percent for ELA and 25 percent for math, compared with statewide results of 37.9 percent for ELA and 39.1 percent for math.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bill Silver attributed the district’s positive results to the hard work of students and teachers, increased experience with the Common Core, increased use of technology across the district and changes made by the state in response to parents' and educators' concerns. Those changes were described in a flyer sent home to the parents of students in grades 3-8 last March (PDF).

Although Liberty students’ scores were below statewide averages for proficiency, they did reflect an increase in performance compared to the 2014-15 school year. The district’s proficiency rates for ELA and math increased by four percentage points each.

The district saw a year-to-year increase of in its math and ELA results for nearly all grade levels, however; the state cautioned in its release about statewide scores that "while the content of the 2016 tests and last year’s tests are comparable and similarly rigorous, it is not possible to make direct comparisons of the 2016 results to prior years’ results because of changes to the tests this year."

It is also important to note that there are additional factors which contribute to the district’s performance, including the number of students who speak English as a second language and the number of students who chose to opt-out of this year’s exams.

As in the past, these state assessments do not factor into a student’s grades for the year. Instead, teachers and administrators look to the assessment results as a way to gain insight into curricular areas that may need to be refined to support student learning.

“While the state may put importance on a given year's test results, the larger purpose of education is making sure that students have the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to be successful in life,” Dr. Silver said. “Our students worked hard last year and should be proud of the gains they made. These results simply tell us there’s still more work for [the district] to do to help students meet today’s high standards.”

Parents can anticipate receiving information on their child’s individual performance on the assessments in September. For more information, please contact the main office of your child’s school.

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