2010-08-25 / Features

Composto ‘Proud’ District 30 Is Raising Test Score Bar

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

“Last year, [a student] was a [Level] 3 or [Level] 4–this year [the same student] might be a [Level] 1 or [Level] 2,” District 30 Community Superintendent Dr. Philip A. Composto said at the August 12 meeting of Community District Education Council 30.

For 2010, “Performance levels for students have been renamed to reflect more precisely for parents, teachers and schools whether a student is below, meeting, or exceeding the proficiency standard,” according the New York State Board of Regents.

That translates to: Level 1–Below Standard, Level 2–Meets Basic Standard, Level 3–Meets Proficiency Standard, Level 4–Exceeds Proficiency Standard.

In District 30, the 2009 English test results for grades 3 through 8 showed almost three-quarters (74.9 percent) of students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards (Levels 3 and 4).

In 2010, less than half (48.3 percent) of students in District 30 are meeting or exceeding English proficiency standards (Levels 3 and 4).

Similarly, math test results for grades 3 through 8 in District 30 for 2009 showed 87.2 percent of students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards (Levels 3 and 4) while in 2010, 61.9 percent of students are meeting or exceeding proficiency standards (Levels 3 and 4).

The drops of 26.6 percent in English and 25.3 percent in math are due to the state Regents decision this year to base the grade 3 through 8 assessments on a new collegereadiness goal. As a result, the 2010 math and English proficiency standard (Level 3) changed from a scaled score of 650 to scaled scores ranging from 670 to 684 for math and 658 to 668 for English.

The Level 2 score, now called the Basic Standard, has been set at a level that gives students a 75 percent chance of earning a Regents score of 65, which is sufficient to earn a Regents diploma.

“The good news is that we are raising the bar,” Composto said. “We are going to work harder to do well, that’s the message we have to give to our kids. The kids should be praised for all their hard work.”

Across the seven community school districts in Queens, District 30 has maintained its rank in the borough in grades 4 (tied for fifth place) and 5 (fourth place) and has moved up in grades 6 and 7 (to third place from fourth place), although moving down in grades 3 and 8 (to sixth from third place and to fourth from third place.)

“We’re right where we were, compared to the rest of the city,” Composto said.

Test scores continue to be a sore point throughout the city. The citywide Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Manhattan last week was so severely disrupted it had to be rescheduled. Angry parents protesting the decline in test scores caused Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and panel members to leave the stage, according to the August 17 New York Times.

School by school data and district by district data for all public schools in the state are available on the State Education Department Web site, www.nysed.gov.

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