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The Times
  • Area students perform better, but still trail state average

  • Students in Oneida and Herkimer counties are lagging behind the statewide average in reading and math, according to new data from the state Education Department.

    The state Tuesday released the results of the English language arts and math standardized tests students in grades three through eight took in April.

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  • Students in Oneida and Herkimer counties are lagging behind the statewide average in reading and math, according to new data from the state Education Department.
    The state Tuesday released the results of the English language arts and math standardized tests students in grades three through eight took in April.
    In Oneida County, more students on average met or exceeded expectations on both exams (52.3 percent for ELA, 59.5 for math), an increase over 2011 (50.6 for ELA, 58.15 for math).
    In Herkimer County, 53.6 percent passed the ELA exam, compared to 52.2 percent last year. The county slipped a bit in math, with 61.2 percent passing this year compared to 63.3 percent last year.
    Statewide, 55.1 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in English; 64.8 percent passed or did better in math. In both categories, students showed slight improvement.
    Herkimer BOCES Superintendent Mark Vivacqua urged caution when looking at the test scores from year to year. “At this point, it’s not making much sense anymore,” he said.
    In recent years, scores have changed because officials thought the tests were too easy, then this year the test was rewritten to be longer and more rigorous.
    Next year, the tests will change and will be based on an entirely new curriculum, the Common Core standards, as a nationwide shift in how students are educated.
    “It’s not all about the test scores, not that we shouldn’t be watching them,” said Vivacqua. “It’s important. (But) in this transition time it’s harder to make a lot of conclusions.”
    Howard Mettelman, superintendent of Oneida BOCES, said he will look at Tuesday’s numbers in two ways to try to figure out what’s going on.
    “I’m trying to look at the third-graders last year and how they did in fourth grade,” he said.
    What he’s seen is varying results, some up and some down.
    Mettelman is also looking at big transition years — such as how seventh-graders who are new to the middle school did compared to how they did in sixth grade. “I saw that there were some drops, but not substantially,” he said. “I still am looking at ways to strengthen that transition.”

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