Local school districts work to make the grade

By Brandi Bailey

August 8, 2013 Updated Aug 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Education Department released its assessment scores based on the new Common Core State Standards, but do these standards set the bar too high?

Maine-Endwell Superintendent, Jason Van Fossen said depending strongly on these scores can be alarming, especially when they come in low.

Based on the new standards, roughly 31 percent of students in third through eighth grade met or exceeded the proficiency standard in both English Language Arts and Math.

"I think if you treat these scores as a pretest. What do students know and what should they know, I think it's a good indicator. Would I call it an overall assessment of what they've learned, no," Van Fossen said.

State Education Commissioner John King Jr. also stresses this is simply a starting point.

King says the goal of the new curriculum is to better prepare students for college and careers, but is it adding more stress?

"It adds stress primarily to students, but also staff. People take pride in how their students do, so when people look at a score,as a parent or an outsider and say boy those scores are low.," Van Fossen said. "It's going to put a lot of stress on people."

The commissioner says stress on students and staff is not intentional.

"These assessments do not constitute a critique of past efforts. They should not be used to criticize," King said.

Up to this point the curriculum has not been fully implemented and staff are still adjusting to the new method.

The City of Binghamton School District released this statement, "Our staff works hard to help our students succeed, and with this new opportunity in front of us, I am confident they will be armed with the resources and knowledge to embrace this new challenge."

School districts expect that with time to apply the new core curriculum, student scores will improve by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.