MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Students in the Rye Neck School District scored at least 10 points higher than the county average in each grade on the New York State math and English Language Arts (ELA) exams, according to results released Tuesday, but some parents are concerned they place too much pressure on students.
"It makes me very happy as a parent," said Patty Gibbs, whose sons Zachary and Edward will begin sixth and eighth grade respectively. "It seems like they raise the bar every year, but the kids keep meeting it."
Rye Neck schools had 87.4 percent of students in grades three through eight reach or exceed the proficiency standard in math, compared to the county average of 70.1 percent and the state average of 63.3 percent.
Students scores fell into one of four categories. The first two indicate a student is below proficiency. A student at level three meets the proficiency standard, while a level four student exceeds it.
The highest scores for both tests came from F.E. Bellows' fourth grade class, which had 93.9 percent of its students at or above proficiency in math. The district averaged 80.1 percent at or above proficiency in math, reflecting the significant drop off from county to state averages.
New York State's average scores on this years English exams were slightly lower than last years at all grade levels. Scores in math were about the same as last years. While most students met or exceeded the states proficiency standards in both categories, overall performance remained low and the gaps in achievement persist, according to a press release from the education department.
"These results underscore the urgent need for New York to continue to aggressively move forward with the implementation of the Regents' reform agenda," Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said.
Some Rye Neck parents, including Luci Giordano, disagree with that agenda, which has already made the testing more rigorous by adding more multiple choice questions and requiring at least one full essay on the ELA exams for each grade.
"The one thing I would say about these tests is that it takes so much time to prepare for," said Giordano, whose daughter Jessica will enter seventh grade in September. "I'm proud of the results, but it takes too much time away from other things."
While Giordano would like to see her daughter, who attends the Village of Mamaroneck Day Camp, learn script and other basic skills she feels get glossed over, Pat Radogona, director of kindergarten programs at the day camp, thinks kids are given too much too soon.
"I think it's a good thing, but I think there's too many tests for these kids and it puts a lot of pressure on them," said Radogona, a 33-year teachers assistant for kindergarten at F.E. Bellows Elementary School in Rye Neck.
Superintendent of Schools Peter Mustich couldn't be reached for comment.
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