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Scarsdale Scores Big on State Math, English Exams

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Juliet Schneider may be camera shy, but the first grader jumps at the chance to spell her name, reflecting the early academic success of Scarsdale's third to eighth graders, who scored well above the county average on state exams in math and English Language Arts (ELA) last May, according to results released Tuesday by the New York State Education Department.

"I'd say that's a good thing," said Kim Schneider, Juliet's mother, a Scarsdale resident. "It definitely speaks to the quality of the schools."

Scarsdale schools had 91.4 percent of students in those grades reach or exceed the proficiency standard in math, compared to the county average of 70.1 percent and the state average of 63.3 percent.

Students’ scores fell into one of four categories. The first two indicate a student is below proficiency. A student at level three meets the proficiency standard, while a level four student exceeds it.

Each grade level had at least 71 percent of its students exceed proficiency in ELA. In contrast, Westchester County and New York State had 70.1 percent and 52.8 of students meet or exceed proficiency, respectively.

Lisa Katz's two sons Scott, 28, and Charlie, 23, graduated from Scarsdale High School and are now established in their careers.

"It was a really good system," Lisa said. "I would send kids through the Scarsdale school system again."

New York scores overall weren't as flattering, according to a press release that cited a drop in the average scores on the ELA exams from last year. Math scores stayed about the same.

Victoria Presser, director of public information for the Scarsdale School District, couldn't be reached for comment.

"These results underscore the urgent need for New York to continue to aggressively move forward with the implementation of the Regents' reform agenda," Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said.

Last year, New York State raised the proficiency standards to better reflect the level of achievement needed to indicate that a student is on track. They also made changes to the testing system by including more multiple choice questions on both the math and English exams and requiring at least one full essay on each grade's English tests.

The changes resulted in a significant drop in the percentage of students classified as level four in ELA because, before, the tests had too few items to measure the Level four cut score as accurately as the department would want, said the state. While most students met or exceeded the state’s proficiency standards in both categories, overall performance remained low and the gaps in achievement persist, according to a press release from the education department.

The full results by town can be seen by clicking here . How do you feel about the overall results? Do you think the changes to the exams will be beneficial long term? Comment below, on Facebook and Twitter.

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