Scores from the 2012 New York State Assessments, Regents and Advanced Placement exams were a major focus of the West Hempstead Board of Education’s August meeting.
Assistant Superintendent Ann Peluso gave a thorough presentation Tuesday night on the NYS Math and English Language Arts exams students took in April. As last month, the results for West Hempstead were mixed.
Peluso’s report, which can be viewed above or on the district’s Web site, broke down the scores for Math and ELA in each grade by school, and compared them to the averages for the entire district, Nassau County and New York State. It showed that students in Grades 3 and 4 at George Washington School performed better than their counterparts at Cornwell Avenue School in ELA. In Math, the results between the two buildings were mixed, with GW scoring better in Grade 3 and Cornwell in Grade 4. The scores varied only slightly among fifth graders at both schools, with about three-quarters of them passing both tests.
Peluso explained what it takes for students to earn a passing score of 3 or 4 on these exams and demonstrated the growth most showed from last year.
In the middle school, students performed better than the state average but below the county average in Grade 6 ELA and Math, and Grade 7 ELA.
In the high school, the graduation rate rose gradually to 96 percent and the percentage of students earning a Regents diploma climbed to 90 percent. However, those earning advanced distinction dropped from 50 percent in 2010 to 40 percent in 2012. And while the percentage of students passing the Regents remained fairly constant for Integrated Algebra and Geometry compared to last year, it declined for English, Global, U.S. History, Living Environment and Earth Science.
The percentage of students earning a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams also dropped as more students are opting to take these challenging courses.
“As we encourage students to take AP tests, we may see a drop in AP scores because all of the students ... taking the tests may not score a 3, 4 or 5,” said Peluso. “I would rather see the students take the rigorous class, even if on the exam, they take a 1 or 2, because they are doing the class work and preparing for college.”
To help its students perform better on the Regents and AP exams, Peluso explained, that last year, questions on exams administered in the classroom were modeled after more rigorous state tests.
“We raised that rigor in the face of some opposition from students and parents who felt that the expectations were too high,” said Peluso. “But I think making the [school] tests more rigorous is what is going to pay off long term.”
Peluso outlined steps the district will be taking to raise student achievement during the school year, which begins Sept. 4 for teachers; Sept. 5 for students.
Some parents expressed concerns toward the end of the meeting – one about the patches of grass growing through the track and another about a scheduling problem.
“We are a week and a half away from the beginning of school … and we still do not have schedules for our children,” said Irene Martinez, explaining that she was told that due to a problem with PowerSchool, a computerized information system, students would have to go to the wrong classes for the first week, until the district could resolve the issue.
Superintendent John Hogan assured her this would not happen, and he would touch base with the principals of the schools regarding schedules.