Huntington school district assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Dr. Kenneth A. Card, Jr. presented a detailed explanation this week of the district's plans to improve ELA and math assessment scores.
Card said that the state conducted a review on college persistence, and found that many college students were not successful. The state backtracked with assessment scores and that led to a decrease in assessment scores in 2010.
"In 2010, the state recalibrated what it meant to be proficient," said Card. "They found that to be successful in college, students need to achieve a 75 on English Regents, and an 80 on Integrated Algebra, and to do that, students grades 3 through 8 needed to reach certain performance criteria."
Card explained what the new standards and subsequent scores mean.
"It's not a dropoff, instead it's a recalibration of what it means to be proficient," he explained. "We met the challenge in certain grade levels, and outperformed ourselves in 2011. We're confident that it will only get better."
Superintendent James Polansky framed the discussion going forward..
“…I do believe we are at an educational crossroads," he said. "We can choose to resist or choose to embrace change efforts – it is important to acknowledge that certain things need to be done differently and in a manner that works best for the students in our charge.”
“In this field, the status quo will not work. It really never has," Polansky said. "None of us as educators, parents, or school community members can afford to sit back on our heels.
“We need to be as proactive and forward thinking as we possibly can. We are faced with having to do more with less. Right now the challenges are limitless.”
Board member John Paci wanted to know what the district would do to improve performance.
"We've been working on targeting instruction for students below the average, the average, and even above average," Card said. "So we need to have a mechanism in place, which is to know who the students are, and we're matching student needs to the correct remedial or intervention programs. Another thing we really need to focus on is keeping the students' skills strong especially after the fourth grade, when learning content really becomes fast and overwhelming."
Card also said that the district's action plan includes pre-teaching of content-specific vocabulary, quarterly algebra assessments, and intensive Regents review sessions.