The Common Core? State testing scores? While Great Neck School District Superintendent Thomas Dolan recently stated that “the jury is still out” on the state-mandated Common Core curriculum and standardized tests, he also noted that the school district does not want to “over-emphasize” testing.
Dr. Dolan reviewed test scores at the most recent school district Board of Education meeting and reported that Great Neck School District students out-performed students through-out Nassau County “at every level, throughout the region.” He emphasized that Great Neck students are outperforming students in the region, “with more difficult tests.” Yet, scores did not always portray this achievement.
When school districts were afforded the option of students taking either the Algebra Regents or the Common Core test, the district chose the Common Core test. The Common Core test turned out to have a scoring system that was vastly different from the Regents scoring, and, as a result, though Great Neck students did impressively well with the Common Core tests, the scoring forced scores lower. And although the district has written to the Board of Regents for some sort of dispensation, as yet there has been no answer.
In another “mystery” scoring, even though the E.M. Baker Elementary School students out-performed other schools in the region on the ELA (English Language Exam), the school was placed on a state watch-list (to bring up scores of special education students) at the start of this school year due to the wide range of scores, with a large gap in some areas since general education students did so much better than special education students.
And when the school district chose a list of high-performing schools they would like to be compared with, Great Neck was always “on-target” and always improving. The comparisons were to schools in Jericho, Rockville Centre, Port Washington, Garden City, Roslyn, Syosset, Locust Valley, Manhasset, Herricks, Woodmere, Oyster Bay and East Norwich.
Dolan’s main advice to parents, especially if there appear to be problems: “Talk to your kids … help is just a phone call away.”