More Regents Diplomas but weak English scores at the elementary level were some highlights of the Report Card, released by the State Education Department yesterday. The Report Cards measure school district performance annually based on state assessments and other indicators.
Overall, Farmingdale scores improved from the 2008-2009 school year and were consistently higher than New York State averages.
"We will be focusing on professional development at the elementary level for English Language Arts and working on increasing achievement of our Special Education students, those are the two key areas we are investigating," said Joan Ripley, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Farmingdale School District.
On the English Language Arts state exam given in third grade, 58 percent of Farmingdale students received a score of 3 or above, just slightly above the New York State average of 55 percent and significantly less than the 87 percent achieved last year in Farmingdale.
The sudden drop can be partially credited to the enacted this school year, causing a statewide drop in the percent of students scoring at proficiency levels 3 and 4.
Ripley said the district examined this in detail.
"We calculated what numbers the students would have scored based on the old criteria, and we would have seen growth, but because the criteria changed we didn’t," she said. "Looking at that data though, we realized that the students were not reading at grade level. It was hard to take, but now that we know this we will advance in the long run, continue to change what we do and make it better."
At the high school level, Farmingdale had 87 percent of students graduate with a Regents Diploma, 51 percent with advanced designation. The New York State Regents Diploma average was 83 percent and advance designation was just 38 percent.
In three years, Farmingdale saw a six percent increase in Regents Diplomas and a ten percent increase in Regents Diplomas with advanced designation.
Ripley said this improvement is the result of support programs for the special education and ESL students, as well as a push for gifted students to pursue the core subjects until senior year.
"We pushed the kids to succeed with a lot of support, through additional classes and after school programs," she said. "We're getting students to keep taking math and science, encouraging students to take that third and fourth year."
These support services, among other things, are threatened by the deep state aid cuts districts are facing this budget season.
"We are not going to be able to provide all of the support," Ripley said. "We can’t sustain them without funding, so tough decisions are coming up."
Third Grade ELA Results: Percentage scoring "3" or above2009-2010 2008-2009 Farmingdale 58% 87% NY State 55% 76%
Regents Diplomas: Percentage receiving the diplomas/percentage with designation2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 Farmingdale 88%/52% 85%/46% 81%/41% NY State 83%/38% 81%/38% 80%/40%
Regents Exams: Percentage receiving 65% or higher2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 English 92% 89% 89% Algebra 86% 87% 84% US History 92% 94% 92% Biology 87% 92% 88% Chemistry 75% 75% 70%