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Norwood-Norfolk administrators review assessments, Regents scores

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NORFOLK — Providing academic intervention services for Norwood-Norfolk students who didn’t fare well on the latest math and English language arts assessments could be challenging given the number of students who would need it, according to an elementary teacher in the district.

But, Rebecca J. Kingsley told Board of Education members last week, they aren’t alone.

“Seventy percent of the students in the state would need it. It’s above 70 percent for us. It would be really tricky for us,” she said.

The scores recently released by the state Education Department showed the number of students who were considered proficient in math and English based on the April 2013 assessments had dropped dramatically, following the introduction of the new Common Core learning standards.

With the more rigorous Common Core assessment tests, more than 70 percent of students from third to eighth grade in the north country were not proficient in either subject, according to the data.

In the past, district officials have looked at how many students were scoring at Levels 3 and 4, the top two tiers on the assessment system. Those students are considered proficient in the subject area, while students scoring at Levels 1 and 2 need more assistance to meet the standards.

“For the 1s and 2s in the past, we were required to provide AIS. We’re waiting for guidance,” Mrs. Kingsley said.

This year, officials at several school districts are comparing their results against other schools in the region and state rather than looking at how they performed on the tests compared to past years. In Norwood-Norfolk’s case, school officials said they have work to do in some areas.

In third-grade English, for instance, Mrs. Kingsley said 10.1 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s students were considered proficient, while the average for the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services was 23.1 percent.

At the fourth-grade level, 22.8 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s students were considered proficient in English, compared to the 19.6 BOCES average.

On the math side, 16.5 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s students were considered proficient at the third-grade level, compared to 20.7 percent in BOCES region.

However, 29.3 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s fourth-grade students were considered proficient in math, compared to 22 percent in the BOCES region.

Middle School Principal Jonathan R. Sovay said eighth graders fared better than the county average in English. Norwood-Norfolk’s proficiency rate was 36.5 percent, compared to the BOCES average of 32.3 percent.

At the fifth-grade level, 13.9 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s students were considered proficient in English, compared to the BOCES average of 21.2. In sixth grade, 15.7 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s students were considered proficient in English, lower than the 26.5 percent BOCES average. And in seventh grade, 18 percent of Norwood-Norfolk’s students scored at proficiency level in English, compared to the 27.5 percent BOCES average.

The math assessment saw 43.3 percent of eighth-grade students considered proficient, compared to the 18.7 percent BOCES average.

The BOCES average for fifth-grade math was 16.8 percent, while 9.9 percent of Norwood-Norfolk were considered proficient. In sixth grade, the BOCES average in math was 17.3 percent, compared to Norwood-Norfolk’s 3.1 percent. And, at seventh grade, the BOCES average was 17.9 percent, while Norwood-Norfolk’s proficiency rate was 6.4 percent.

“There has been a lot of media attention on the scores. The only worthwhile data is our rank in the north country. Nonetheless, it is a place we need to start at. We’ll get there, I’m confident, but it’s going to take a lot of work,” Superintendent James M. Cruikshank said.

High school Principal Robin J. Fetter also shared the results of the most recent Regents exams with the board, noting that one of their concerns was English. Fifteen of the 58 students — 25.9 percent — who took the Regents exam failed, she said, while 54 percent scored 65 to 84 and 20 percent scored 85 or better.

“This year’s junior class did not perform quite well. Those are definitely concerns for the teachers and definitely concerns for me,” Mrs. Fetter said.

In earth science, 11 of the 54 students who took the exam failed it, while 50 percent scored 65 to 84 and 30 percent scored 85 or better.

On the flip side, one of the areas where students excelled, according to Mrs. Fetter, was in integrated algebra, where only one of the 70 students who took the exam failed it. Of those who passed, 63 percent scored 65 to 84 and 36 percent scored 85 or better.

Another subject area with exceptional results was algebra 2. Of the 32 students who took the exam, 44 percent scored 65 to 84, and 50 percent scored 85 or better. Two students failed that test.

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