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EDUCATION: Drop in 3RD Grade Test Scores Connected to Demographics

ONEWORLD'S EDUCATION AGENDA: DROP IN 3RD GRADE TEST SCORES CONNECTED TO DEMOGRAPHICS!!!

Thanks to the NHI for another VERY enlightening article.  Please read the entire article linked here.  We have copied the sections below to be highlighted because the information provided by those interviewed, even though coded (somewhat), provides very important information for parents, teachers, education advocates, PTAs, education administrators, political, business and community leaders. 

"School board members (in Branford) are asking why third-grade scores on state mastery tests at Mary Murphy Elementary School dropped so drastically in the past year. And they want to know what steps are being taken to help the students." It is refreshing to read about this frank and open discussion

Some of the facts listed in this article are the exact reason why some charter schools are doing better than some regular public schools; and why children in many suburban schools score higher on standardized tests than those in some inner-city schools.  Many education advocates decry standardized tests; however, the tests are not the central problem.  Children need to be taught, practiced and encouraged to think; they should not be coached in memorization; that is not learning, except in the case of learning a piece of poetry, etc.  Children need to be prepared to learn; they need to learn how to think through a problem; they learn problem[-solving and critical-thinking through conversations and examples; through interactive practice with adults or older children; such learning needs to be continuous.  Before our children go off to school they need to be engaged in reading.

Dr. Anthony Buono, who served as principal at Murphy until he was appointed associate superintendent this year, said there were prior indications students in that class were having difficulty learning and that efforts were made to help them. He said “Murphy has different demographics than the other two elementary schools.” This is a KEY piece of information.

Demographics refer to a number of factors succinctly called the statistical data of a population.  In education we look at the income of parents, the education level, language proficiency, transience (how often do they move from one school district to another, or one country to another); how prepared are the children to learn when they arrive in school? What academic foundation do they have upon arrival?  

"Hernandez said that compared to the other two elementary schools, Mary Murphy has a higher number of students whose primary language in not English, more students with special needs, more low-income families, and a higher rate of families who move frequently."  All of this refer to the demographics.

  • “Low scores were not a surprise ... but the surprise is the degree of the dip,” Hernandez said. “We clearly have some more work to do.” He said instruction has been geared to meet the needs of the students.
  • By comparison, third-grade scores at Mary Tisko and at John B.Sliney elementary schools dropped slightly, but were still well above those at Murphy.  In 2013, the percentages of third grade students at Tisko scoring at or above goal in math were 88.9 percent; reading, 76.3 percent; and writing, 79 percent. At Sliney, math was 73.1 percent; reading, 62.1 percent; and writing, 73.5 percent. 
  • At Murphy, math was 30.1; reading, 42.9 percent; and writing, 33.3 percent.
  • Consider the fact that from Kindergarten to 3rd grade children learn to read.  From 3rd grade forward they read to learn. With the scores above, what do the teachers at Murphy need to do to make up this deficit?  Clearly, the teachers alone cannot do all that needs to be done! This is true in Branford and it is true in New Haven, Bridgeport and wherever we have these demographics.
  • The central question is -- as a society, how are we going to change these dynamics so that these children, and the thousands of others like them all over this state and this country, are not left behind permanently?
  • Squires asked if any changes have been made in the curriculum at Murphy because of the low scores.

"Buono said there were no curriculum changes, but the teachers are adapting lessons to meet the needs of the students."  Commendable, but it will need much more than the efforts of the dedicated teachers who have these children about six hours daily. 

"Board member Mario Sabatini asked if the demographics at Murphy are a continuing trend. "

It is an American trend Mr. Sabatini.

About: OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc is dedicated to contributing to the greater New Haven community in the areas of health literacy, education (at-every-level) and civic engagement.  We produce and present television programs on AT&T Uverse (channel 99 - dropdown menu) and on all area public access channels (Comcast Channels 10, 15, 18, 26 and 34); Charter Communications (Channel 21), Cox Channel 15.  Our programs air several times weekly on Comcast Channel 18 in Branford, East Haven, North Branford, North Haven and Wallingford.  We air in Hamden, New Haven and West Haven, on Comcast Chan. 26, 7pm on Sundays.

You may also find much more about our programs on our web: http://www.oneworldpi.org/home.html and on our YouTube Channel at:  http://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos  - YouTube and on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/oneworldpi#!/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941  Facebook

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/branford/entry/third_g...

We welcome questions and feedback.

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