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Larchmont Teacher Pleased by District's Scores

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Kate Biggs is thrilled that her daughter Jane will grow up attending the Mamaroneck School District, which collectively scored higher than the county average for grades three through eight on New York State's math and English Language Arts (ELA) exams this past May, according to results released Tuesday by the state education department.

"I think there's an excellent school system here and Jane will be a part of it someday," said Biggs, whose daughter is five months old.

Mamaroneck schools had 84.7 percent of students in those grades at or above the proficiency standard for math, compared to the county average of 70.1 percent. Murray Avenue Elementary School's fourth grade class scored a 97.3 percent proficiency rate in math, the highest of any school or grade in the district. Chatsworth Avenue Elementary School's fourth grade class had the second highest with 96.2 percent.

"I have one child going into fifth grade and one going into high school, so that's definitely reassuring," said Shari St. Pierre, a Larchmont resident. "It reflects positively for the school."

In the district, 78.7 percent of students reached or exceeded the standard in ELA, compared to 64 percent in the county. Again, Murray Avenue Elementary fourth grade class scored the highest proficiency rate with 92.8 percent at or above the standard, followed by their fifth grade class at 91.1 percent.

"That's amazing, especially the way the state changed up the tests," said Biggs, a seventh grade teacher at the Louis M. Klein Middle School in Harrison.

Biggs said she doesn't have a problem with New York State raising the proficiency standards and making changes to the testing system last year, which include more multiple choice questions on both the math and English exams and requiring at least one full essay on each grade's English tests. But, she is concerned how those changes will affect test results and, consequently, how teachers are judged.

"If we're going to measure progress in that way, be consistent," she said. "It's great to keep pushing the standards, but you can't change it every few years and judge teachers on a moving target."

The Mamaroneck School District scored higher on both the math and English exams than last year, said Debbie Manetta, spokesperson for the district.

Conversely, the state's average scores on this year’s English exams were slightly lower than last year’s at all grade levels. Scores in math were about the same as last year’s. While most students met or exceeded the state’s proficiency standards in both categories, overall performance remained low and the gaps in achievement persist, according to a press release from the education department.

"Our emphasis is on continuous improvement and continuing to provide rigorous experiences for all students to help ensure that they become proficient," Manetta said. "We're pleased with the overall scores, both areas have increased."

What do you think of this year's test results? Do you think the changes made to the test last year are a good idea? Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.

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