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Test scores tumble after Common Core implementation

Around 70 percent of students are below the grade, new baseline established

Predictions of plummeting scores on state standardized tests have proven to be correct, as a significant majority of students failed to meet proficiency standards this year.

State Education Commissioner John King Jr. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, released results of April assessment test results in mathematics and English language arts for third- to eighth-grade students, and only 31 percent of students statewide met or exceeded proficiency standards. The declining scores were attributed to the state transitioning to the Common Core Standards this year. The shift to the new standards was controversial, with local educators lobbying for more time to implement the Common Core in classrooms.

State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said what students “need to know” has changed and the test scores represent a “new baseline” to measure learning. Tisch said school administrators and teachers worked “extraordinarily hard” to implement the Common Core.

“Our students face very real challenges,” Tisch said in a statement. “But it’s better to have our students challenged now — when teachers and parents are there to help — than frustrated later when they start college or try to find a job and discover they are unprepared.”

King argued the declining scores “do not reflect a drop in performance,” but are a better measure of how college and career ready students are compared to previous standards.

“I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers and principals. It’s frustrating to see our children struggle,” King said in a statement. “But we can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity. The results we’ve announced today are not a critique of past efforts; they’re a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.”

Scores within Level 3 are determined to be meeting standards and top tier scores in Level 4 are considered to be exceeding standards. Scores falling within Level 2 are considered below standard, and Level 1 scores are the lowest category.

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