The West Hempstead school district performed better in eight out of 12 of the New York State Assessments given to their students this year in Math and English Language Arts (ELA).
The results of the April 2012 tests, which were released by the State Education Department (SED) earlier this month, showed that the district is still strongest in Grade 7 and 8 Math, as more than 80 percent passed these tests with a score of 3 or 4.
In other areas, West Hempstead showed some improvement, particularly in Grade 3 ELA and Grade 4 Math, where the amount of students failing dropped by 10 percent compared to 2011 as the percentage achieving a mastery score of 4 rose. Still, more than 30 percent of students in Grades 3-8 failed their ELA exam this year and more than 20 percent in Grades 2-6 failed Math.
When comparing West Hempstead’s two elementary schools, students at George Washington fared much better on the Grade 3 ELA and Math exams than their counterparts at Cornwell. More than 42 percent of Cornwell students failed the ELA exam while only 17.7 percent of GW students didn’t pass and 26.5 percent earned a 4. In Math, 32.4 percent of third graders at Cornwell and 19.4 percent at GW earned a failing score of 1 or 2. Although more than a quarter of Cornwell students in Grade 3 earned a 4 in Math, GW had nearly a third of its third graders reach this "mastery" level.
Among West Hempstead’s fourth graders, more George Washington students passed the ELA exam, but more Cornwell kids passed the Math test. It was the opposite in Grade 5, where Cornwell performed better on ELA and GW on Math. Cornwell boast more 4's on Math and ELA in both grades.
Overall, the best and worst scores came out of West Hempstead Middle School though. Seventh graders struggled the most with their ELA exam, with roughly 40 percent failing, compared to 34 percent in 2011. West Hempstead also saw an increase in the number of six graders failing both the ELA (from 33 to 36 percent) and Math (from 20 to 28 percent) exams.
Once again, West Hempstead performed the best on the Grade 7 and 8 Math exams, but did see a modest slip in the number of eighth graders passing – down from 83 to just under 82.
Across Grades 4-8, West Hempstead saw decreases in the percentage of students achieving a mastery score of 4 on the ELA exams, but an increase in those reaching this level on the Math exams.
The overall modest improvements the district experienced was consistent with the statewide trend. According to a press release from the NYSED, the average scale scores on this year’s exams in both ELA and math are slightly higher than last year in most grades, and there is a small increase in the percentage of grades 3-8 students across the State who met or exceeded the proficiency standard on both exams.
"There is some positive momentum in these numbers," said Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. "But too many of our students, especially students of color, English Language Learners and special education students, are currently not on a course for college and career readiness. That’s why we are continuing to press forward with critical reforms to ensure all of our kids are ready for college and careers."
Referring to the Common Core Learning Standards and the mandated Annual Professional Performance Review plan, Tisch said, "In the fall we will begin to phase in a new, more challenging, content rich curriculum and continue to press for the implementation of a rigorous teacher evaluation system in every district across the state."
"We’re building a ladder, grade by grade, to college and career readiness," Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said. "These results are a small, positive sign of growth, but not enough of our students are climbing as steadily as they should be. Next school year, we start to implement reforms to make that ladder strong enough to support all our students as they climb toward college and career readiness."
West Hempstead school officials will be giving a presentation on the latest state test scores at the August 2012 Board of Education business meeting scheduled for Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
See attached document above for a breakdown of West Hempstead's 2012 scores, or click here to access all the results for school districts in New York State.