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Slight gain for Buffalo Public school students in state assessments

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

There are some slight gains for public school students on this year's New York State Assessments. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says that includes small gains for Buffalo Public School students in English and Math. 

“And Buffalo has made gains over the last two years. They have a ways to go,” stated State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. 

Commissioner Elia pointed out that Buffalo results made some slight gains. Elia released the test results Tuesday for students statewide in grades three through eighth in ELA and math.

Buffalo Public school students registered a small increase in student proficiency of 1.4-perent in ELA’s, bringing the total student proficiency to 17.8-percent. In Math there was also slight increase for city students of 1.1-percent to 17.2-percent proficiency.

Elia said Buffalo schools are headed in the right direction.

“They have a ways to go – there’s no doubt about that and State Ed is very, very interested in working with Buffalo students and teachers,” Elia remarked.

Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia was in the Buffalo area earlier this summer with NYS Regents Catherine Collins.

Buffalo is still about in the middle when it comes to the Big Five urban districts in the state.  But Elia pointed out the district is working on teacher training.

“The focus, I think, has been on making sure that teachers and students get the kind of training that teachers need to support students, so you are seeing increases with the trend going in the right direction,” responded Elia.

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash issued a written statement Tuesday in response to the results.

"There are many encouraging signs embedded in this year’s state test results for Buffalo. Overall, we are headed in the right direction, however, the pace must pick up in order for all of our children to be able to read and understand text at a college level or above by the time they graduate from our high schools," stated Cash.

But Cash also noted that as the district is about to begin the second full year of the New Education Bargain with Student and Parents, he expects to see "larger percentage increases due to reduced class size in the early grades, along with a strategic focus on instruction across the curriculum - i.e. literacy, reading, writing, vocabulary, comprehension, numeracy, social studies, science, and technology skills." 

Cash noted through the bargain, the district is "working in close partnership with our teachers and principals to build a solid track to run on to more rapidly grow student proficiency and overall achievement well into the future.”

The ‘opt out’ rate also dropped slightly this year. The statewide ‘opt out’ rate was at 19-percent, down by about two-percentage points from last year's 21-percent ‘opt out’ statewide rate. 

Buffalo Public School District results in 2017 ELA & Math, grades 3-8 :

Buffalo had performance increases measured in students achieving proficiency or higher on both ELA and Math from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 school year. 

BPS ELA (2017) – 17.8% - an increase of 1.4 percentage points

State ELA (2017) – 39.8% - an increase of 1.9 percentage points

BPS Math (2016) – 17.2% - an increase of 1.1 percentage points

State Math (2017) – 40.2% - an increase of 1.1 percentage points

29 of 43 schools that have students in grades 3-8 students made increases in measuring at or above proficiency in ELA from 2016 to 2017.

30 of 43 schools that have students in grades 3-8 made increases in measuring at or above proficiency in Math from 2016 to 2017. 

In the district's 11 Elementary-Middle Level Receivership schools, the average building-wide increase was 1.26% in ELA and 2.23% in Math.

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