July 29, 2016
The state Education Department today released the results of the 2016 Grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and math tests that students took in April.
In releasing the scores, the state stressed that they should not be compared with previous years' scores because of several changes that were made to the tests this year: starting with a new test vendor with a contract that required greater teacher involvement; reducing the number of questions on every grade 3-8 ELA and math assessments; and allowing students who are productively working to complete their exams.
In addition, SED released more test questions than ever before and earlier than ever before to support instruction. Further, when parents receive their child’s school reports later this summer, they will see that they are easier to understand and provide more information on how their child performed.
This year’s changes to the tests are part of a multi-year process that started with the Board of Regents’ Test Improvement Report in June 2015 and then solicited feedback from parents, teachers, administrators and students. The process included making recommendations as part of the Governor’s Task Force and presenting the final changes to the Board of Regents in December 2015. SED implemented the changes in time for the spring 2016 exams.
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. The 2016 results are valid and reliable indicators of student proficiency in the tested grades and subjects.
“I’ve always said that tests must be diagnostic, valid and reliable while providing timely and practical information to parents and teachers," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. "We made important changes to the assessments this year and we’re going to continue to look at ways to make them even better moving forward. While it’s not possible to make direct comparisons of this year’s results to past years, I’m cautiously optimistic the changes we’re making will drive improvements in teaching and learning.”
From a proficiency standpoint, Mayfield's proficiency rates - 33 percent on grades 3-8 ELA and 44 percent on grades 3-8 mathematics received scores in levels 3 or 4 on the exams - placed the district third in mathematics and fifth in ELA among the 15 school districts in the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES. Statewide, the figures were 38 percent on ELA and 39 percent on mathematics.
The state exams taken by students in grades 3-8 are scored on four levels, with level 4 being the highest level of proficiency and level 1 indicating that the student has scored below proficient levels:
▪ Level 4 scores
mean that students "excel in the state standards" for
that grade level.
▪ Level 3 means that students are "proficient in the state standards" for that grade level.
▪ Level 2 scores mean that students are "not proficient in the state standards" for that grade level (partial but insufficient)
▪ Level 1 scores mean that students are "well below proficient in the state standards" for that grade level.
Statewide, in ELA this year, the percentage of students in grades 3-8 who scored at the proficient level (Levels 3 and 4) increased by 6.6 percentage points to 37.9, up from 31.3 in 2015. In math, the percentage of students who scored at the proficient level increased this year to 39.1, up one percentage point from 38.1 in 2015.
At Mayfield, the proficient figures for both the ELA and mathematics exams remained close to the 2015 results. The number of students scoring in the proficient levels - 3 and 4 - climbed to 33 percent, compared with 30 percent in 2015. In mathematics, 44 percent of Mayfield students scored in levels 3 and 4, compared with 42 percent in 2015.
Here are the grade-level results on the exams at Mayfield. The figures the percentage of student scoring in that level:
EXAM # OF STUDENTS LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3 LEVEL 4 MEAN SCORE
Grade 3 ELA
Grade 3 Math 49 27% 27% 31% 16% 306
Grade 4 ELA 64 20% 48% 23% 8% 306
Grade 4 Math 64 16% 28% 31% 25% 318
Grade 5 ELA 64 44% 28% 23% 5% 289
Grade 5 Math 64 33% 30% 30% 8% 308
Grade 6 ELA 60 30% 40% 22% 8% 295
Grade 6 Math 60 18% 33% 22% 27% 312
Grade 7 ELA 54 39% 30% 19% 13% 300
Grade 7 Math 48 27% 33% 25% 15% 312
Grade 8 ELA 36 28% 31% 22% 19% 305
Grade 8 Math 26 23% 50% 23% 4% 309
The mean scores indicate that half of the students scored above that figure and half scored below. The maximum scores on the ELA exams vary by grade, ranging from a maximum score of 419 on the grade 6 exam to a 395 on the grade 8 exam. On the mathematics exam, the highest top scores would range from 416 on the grade 5 exam to 401 on the grade 3 exam.
Test results don't include everybody
According to the state, Mayfield's test refusal rate was 18 percent in April, meaning that those students did not take the exams and are not counted in these results. In 2015, 34 percent of students refused to take the state exams.
Test refusals make it difficult for school administrators to fully understand the health of the curriculum and whether it is adequately preparing students for success.
The state tests are also part of the equation used by schools to determine which students need extra help. However, teachers are aware of how their students are performing based on grades and other testing throughout the year. They will refer students for extra help, whether or not they participate in the state tests.