Student standardized test scores have remained constant between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school year, according to school officials.
South Orange and Maplewood School District Chief Information Officer Paul Roth presented the results from the NJASK and HSPA tests to the Board of Education during a public meeting on Monday, Sept. 16.
Between the 2008‐2009 and 2012‐2013 school year, the percent of students in the District Factor Group (comparable districts) scoring proficient or higher on language arts remained flat, while the percent of district students scoring proficient or higher increased from78% to 83%.
Additionally, district black students scoring proficient or higher in Language Arts increased from 62% to 69%.
“Student performance during the 2012‐2013 school year was about the same as student performance in the 2011‐2012 school year, but for the most part you see increased year after year,” said Roth.
The presentation shows the number of students in grades 3-8 and 11 who are proficient in Math, Language Arts and Science have increased from 67 percent in the 2008-2009 school year to 75 percent in the 2012-2013 school year.
Roth then broke down each test by subject, showing the gap between the district scores to those of other schools in the District Factor Group (DFG).
In language arts, the gap between district and DFG scores narrowed from eight percentage points to three percentage points from 2008-2009 to 2012-2013. In math, the gap narrowed from nine to six in those same years.
In science, which is only taken by grades four and eight, the percent of district students scoring proficient or better increased from 90 percent in 2008‐2009 to 92 percent in 2012‐2013. The overall DFG gap narrowed from 6 percentage points to 3 percentage points.
One issue, noted by Board Vice President Sandra Karriem, is the disparity between performance between white and black students.
White students who are proficient in math, language arts and science increased from 89 percent in 2008-2009 to 90 percent in 2012-2013 while black students who are proficient in those subjects increased from 46 percent to 55 percent in those same years.
“We are headed in the right direction and we are getting some positive results and trends for the most part but we still have significant gaps between our black and white students,” she said. “I'm wondering if at some point we can expect to see the results accelerate in terms of the gap reducing and our proficiency increasing.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne said he shared the same observations and that he is very hopeful that their strategies in place that we have momentum which will turn into traction in student performance.
“I also think the increases are too modest and we need to think very deeply as we go forward in our fiscal environment about what is really important to us and how we invest more deeply for the students who really need us the most,” he said.