BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The scores from last year's new Common Core tests show about 69 percent of students in New York State aren't meeting the English and math testing standards.
In Buffalo, just 11.5 percent of students met or exceeded the English proficiency standard, and only 9.6 percent met or exceeded the math standard.
The results are a clear indication that the Buffalo School District has its work cut out for it. But State Education Commissioner John King says don't be too harsh judging teachers or students - this is an all-new approach to education.
Buffalo ranks in the middle of the big five school districts in the state for English and Math under the new Common Core test standards, tougher standards measuring student achievement in grades 3 through 8. The city is among the bottom of the scores here in WNY.
Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown said, "The scores are much lower than we certainly want them to be. These numbers let us know that many of our students are not demonstrating right now that they are on track to be ready for college and careers upon graduation."
Looking at it another way, more than 93 percent of eighth grade Buffalo students scored below grade level in math. In English, 87 percent tested below grade level.
What should the public be thinking?
Robert Bennett of the NYS Board of Regents said, "I think they should greet it with a lot of questions about what are you going to do about it, and who's going to do what about it, and will this be a topic of every single school board meeting coming forward? Student achievement."
The district will be launching a new strategic plan in two weeks, and Dr. Brown is already touting a graduation rate a few points higher last year than the year before, which was a dismal 47 percent. The new thrust is geared toward preparing for the new Common Core testing standards.
School Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold said, "Teachers have gotten professional development, curriculum is being developed, classroom assignments are being developed, so we're now teaching toward that new standard."
Most states are now working toward the new standards, but only New York and Kentucky have begun testing based on those standards.
The Buffalo Teachers Federation says there wasn't enough training for teachers before the tests were given.
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