Rochester City School officials say despite disappointing test results, they will stay the course

Aug 22, 2017

Credit WXXI

The State Education Department has released results of Spring testing for grades 3–8  for English Language Arts and math.

The state says that overall, for ELA, the percentage of students in grades 3–8 who scored at the proficient level increased by 1.9 percentage points to 39.8.

In math, the percentage of students at the proficient level increased to 40.2, up 1.1 percent over last year.

Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa says she is encouraged by the modest improvements, but says that testing is “just one piece of the puzzle” to understand how students are performing.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says that the test scores are a positive sign the state is headed in the right direction.

The Rochester City School School District saw some improvement, up .9 percent for ELA and up .7 for math.

But the Rochester City Schools had the worst results among the ‘Big 5 School Districts,’ with just 7.6 percent of the students in grades 3-8 proficient in English Language Arts and 7.9 percent proficient in math.

Rochester School District Accountability Officer Ray Giamartino says that he and Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams realize that the district needs to accelerate whatever progress it is making.

“These are results that are disappointing, we know that we have tremendous work to do, we’ve got unbelievable teachers and administrators and a very supportive board who are helping very specifically in targeting the work that we need to do," Giamartino told WXXI News.  “Our hope is that with some additional time for teachers to focus very specifically on mathematics skills and ELA literacy based strategies, we’ll have a better opportunity to provide our students and families an assurance that improvement will continue."

Deane-Williams issued a statement that said, "We are going to stay the course. We are going to continue the strategies that we put in place this year, which include additional focus on improving reading, writing and mathematics proficiency. We know that we can do better, and are committed to doing whatever it takes to improve results for District children."

Rochester school district officials say they are increasing the emphasis on literacy at all grade levels, including hiring 31 additional reading support and intervention teachers in schools across the district for the upcoming school year. 

You can read a summary of the state results here.  Other results can be found here.