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During School Board Recognition Month this October, we would like to thank the members of the Herkimer BOCES Board of Education for their service and all that they do for BOCES and our students! Thank you to: Daniel LaLonde, Thomas Shypski, Jack Bono, Ronald Loiacono, Janine Lynch, William Miller, James Schmid, Michelle Szarek, Linda Tharp and Daniel Voce!
Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua
releases statement on state test scores for grades 3-8 ELA, math

Aug. 11, 2015



The following comments are from Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua:

Results of last school year's grades 3-8 New York state assessments have been released. Through the last few years, various iterations of assessments and the standards they measure have necessitated some explanation of the data because simple comparisons to the previous year's results could lead to misinterpretation. The 2014-15 data set for most Herkimer County school districts, however, requires no interpretation because the results are for the most part meaningless. I would caution any conclusions utilizing these data, about either the magnitude of growth in student achievement over the previous year or any comparison of scores to statewide averages or any other region of the state.

The participation rate was simply too low to confidently make any rational comment about what the results may mean. Even more confounding is that many students engaged in the assessments on the first day of these multiple day tests, and then refused to continue on subsequent days. Since tests which were initiated had to be scored, these students received ratings at the lowest level.

I cannot speak to New York state as a whole, or other regions of the state, but for our BOCES region, any interpretation of aggregate results would be foolhardy. Individual results for students who completed testing are certainly useful for measuring that particular student's achievement in relation to state standards, but any statements about group results would be untenable.

No matter on which side one falls in the debate about both Common Core and the use of student test results to evaluate teachers, it is obvious that the test refusal movement that rose up in opposition has been successful in Herkimer County. If the desired result of encouraging refusal was to disrupt the system to force change, the system has certainly been disrupted and the money spent on test development, administration, scoring and analysis largely wasted. I congratulate those with a sincere belief in this movement on their own achievement, remain hopeful that they will not parlay their success to erode other important tenants of public education and anxiously await the response from our policymakers.




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