Students’ standardized test scores dropped in mathematics and slightly increased in language arts in the 2018-19 school year, according to data made public by the Paterson Public Schools.
Math scores for five of the nine grades tested declined in the 2018-19 school year compared to the previous academic year.
Number of sixth graders proficient in math dropped by 2-percent, biggest drop of the five. Fifth graders’ math scores declined by 1-percent. Rest of the drops were below one-percent.
Some grades recorded increases. Number of students proficient in Algebra II more than doubled, jumping to 8.8-percent, up from 3.4-percent the previous year. Third graders clocked a 2.6-percent increase.
English language arts scores increased in six of the eight grades. Sixth graders made the biggest gains. 32-percent of sixth graders were proficient in language arts, up 3.7-percent from the previous year.
Eight graders followed with a 2.7-percent increase. Rest of the increases were under 1.8-percent, according to the data.
There were big drops in seventh and ninth grades. Seventh graders dropped by 3.9-percent and 10th graders dropped by 2.8-percent, according to the data.
“This data is an indicator that our efforts to help increase student achievement are working,” said superintendent Eileen Shafer in a district press release last Tuesday. “While we still have much more work to do, this data shows that the district is moving in the right direction. The aggressive reading program in the elementary grades, as well as the updated math curriculum, are helping students perform better on state assessments.”
The district’s press release compared 2017 and 2019 which showed a smaller decline.
“By no means is the district claiming a victory in raising student achievement,” said Shafer. “But we have shown growth during the past three years, and we intend to keep moving forward.”
School board members were presented with the data on Tuesday night.
School board president Oshin Castillo said she is scheduling a meeting in late October for her colleagues to delve into the data and have a deeper discussion.
“I’m not at all happy with them. I’m really upset with these numbers. We have a lot of work to do,” said school board member Emanuel Capers of the data. “The district has no plans. There’s no real plan to address this.”
Capers said only two board members asked any questions after the data was presented on Tuesday night.
Shafer last year launched a K-5 reading program to ensure students are reading on grade level. There were no big gains in grades 3, 4, and 5.
Students are given standardized exams beginning in the third grade.