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Taking test scores to the next level is complex

August 29, 2019 07:36 pm

This week’s release of the state Education Department’s math and English language arts test results for grades 3-8 in schools statewide again called attention to local school districts’ quandary with providing high-end education at an affordable price for taxpayers.

In the Twin Counties, the results were mixed, with several districts scoring below the state average for students testing at proficient levels, scoring a 3 or 4 on state standardized tests in math and English. Only one district, New Lebanon, in Columbia County, reached the 50% mark. Fifty-one percent scored a 3 or 4 in English and 50% did so in math.

In Columbia County, the numbers were below the state average but remained fairly steady in 2019 versus 2018. In English language arts, 38% of students scored at proficient levels in both 2018 and 2019; in math, the number of proficient scores rose from 35% last year to 37% this year.

In Greene County, the number of proficient English scores dipped slightly from 32% in 2018 to 31% in 2019, with math scores rising a total of three percentage points, from 34% last year to 37% this year.

The nuances of all these statistics can be frustrating to navigate, but there is something to be said for them. It is encouraging to see the math test scores, which have been a source of perennial concern, locally and statewide, rise two points in Columbia County and three points in Greene County.

School superintendents in the Twin Counties are all in at attempting to elevate math and English language arts test scores to the next level, one that is ever closer to the elusive state average. It’s an important effort because it is an effort to give our children the best education possible.