School District 20 holds its own in test scores

September 29, 2011 Denise Romano
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When it comes to English Language Arts and math, students insouthwestern Brooklyn are doing better than their peers in otherparts of the city.

District 20 Superintendent Karina Costantino announced testing datafrom the 2011 English language arts (ELA) and math state exams forfourth and eighth graders at the Community Education Council (CEC)meeting held at I.S. 62 in Kensington last week.

According to the citywide progress report, 17 schools in District20 scored an A, 12 were graded a B and just four received a Cgrade.

We are doing very, very well, Costantino said.

Also, three elementary schools in the district were among the topin the city. P.S. 247 in Bensonhurst, which has no gifted andtalented program, was ranked number seven in the city; P.S. 229 inBath Beach came in at 13 and P.S. 204 in Bensonhurst was ranked19.

Overall, testing scores dropped 20 percent across the city, due tothe exams being more difficult. According to Costantino, District20 is holding its own and making progress.

New statewide tests have a slightly different grading system. Ascore of 1 is deficient, 2 is below grade level, 3 is on gradelevel and 4 is above grade level. In 2010, 51.4 percent of studentsscored a 3 or 4 on the ELA test. In 2011, there wasn’t muchimprovement, 51.5 percent of students scored a 3 or a 4.

Good is not good enough, good has to be great, Costantino said,noting that a lot of students who take this test also speak Englishas a second language, which brings down the scores.

It takes them longer to do the test and it requires stamina, sheadded. Their vocabulary is different.

As for math scores, in 2010, 68.5 percent of students scored a 3 ora 4. In 2011, that level rose to 71.3 percent.

We have our work cut out for us. We usually see levels in the 80sand 90s, Costantino said.

As a result, several subcommittees have been formed to improvegrades. There are also new kindergarten through eighth gradeschools in the district – six to be exact – and these schools havea different culture compared to the classic sixth through eighthgrade intermediate school environment.

All kids are different, they do better in different schools,Costantino explained, noting that it is much easier to have astudent move from level 1 to level 2 than a level 3 to a level 4.We want students to move up. I am looking forward to a rigorousschool year. With partnerships between teachers and parents, we allwork together and the results are clear.

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