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Bedford Schools Score Above State Average

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Bedford Central School District students in third through eighth grades scored better than both the state and county averages in the English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams, according to data released by the New York State Education Department.

But district officials acknowledge that there is still more work that needs to be done.

“Assuming the state gets to the point where the tests are truly reliable and valid measures of student learning consistently over time, we will be satisfied when all of our students are proficient on state tests or on measures of their individual growth based on their individual learning needs,” said Jere Hochman, superintendent of Bedford Central School District. “At the same time, we must ensure that our curriculum is deep and rigorous and that it is meaningful learning and not narrow and tightly aligned for the purpose of passing tests.”

In a chart posted on the district ’ s web site , the results show that many students made solid gains or matched where they were last year. For example, 71 percent of third grade students were deemed to be proficient in math in 2010. About 81 percent of those students, now fourth graders, were considered proficient in 2011.

But last year’s eighth graders continued to show a slight decline from where they were as seventh graders in both the ELA and math results.

About 61 percent of the eighth graders were considered to be proficient in the ELA exam this past school year, down from the 63 percent that group of students achieved in 2010. In the math exam, the eighth graders reached a proficiency level of 79 percent, down from the 81 percent that group reached in 2010.

Still, the state ’ s data showed that the district outperformed its counterparts on the state and county level.

Statewide, a little less than 53 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard. That represented a slight decrease from the 53.2 percent that met or exceeded those standards in 2010. About 63.3 percent of the students in those grades reportedly met or exceeded the standard for  math, which is 2 percent higher than the results in 2010.

Results for Hispanic students statewide showed that 37.2 percent met the ELA proficiency standards, while 64.2 percent of white students did.

The staff at the Mt. Kisco Public Library was not surprised by the statistics, but said it has been working with the diverse community of Mt. Kisco to create a number of programs to help Spanish-speaking students.

“The schools are really trying to work with all the agencies in town,” Deirdre Johnson, youth service librarian said. “We work with the Mt. Kisco Elementary School quite a lot.”

Besides the Summer Reading program, Johnson said the library offers bi-lingual story times and English-speaking conversation classes. It also has a literacy volunteer program for high school students to teach younger children.

“The emphasis is on Hispanic families,” Johnson said. “Understanding Spanish is really the key in this area.”

Hochman said district parents should keep in mind that the state test results only tells part of the story when it comes to their student’s progress.

“When parents review test scores, they should first keep in mind that standardized tests are only one measure of a student’s achievement and that other local quizzes, tests and authentic work of their children are better routine indicators of how a child is progressing,” Hochman said. “After several months of studying a period of history or a mathematical concept, a standardized test may only ask one or two questions about that topic.”

Hochman said the district is in the process of analyzing individual tests results to plan for this school year and that individual student reports will be mailed home sometime in the fall.

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