Local school districts lead county on state tests

Ranking #1 and #2 in proficiency, Red Hook improves, Rhinebeck steps back

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The results are in, and Red Hook’s students have passed with flying colors.

As part of the New York State Assessment Program, students in grades 3 through 8 throughout the state are administered standardized tests each year in mathematics and English language arts to measure their proficiency. The results are grouped by grade level.

For 2012, Red Hook scored at or near the top in every grade level, compared to other Dutchess County school districts, with improvements over 2011 in eight of the 12 tests administered. Red Hook also had the highest proficiency levels county-wide in seven out of the 12 tests, including both 4th and 6th grade English and math. Red Hook exceeded state averages for proficiency in all 12 areas — only Wappingers duplicated that feat in 2012.

“We are thrilled that our students continue to excel on the state assessments. It is certainly one indicator of an effective teaching and learning environment. That said, it is only one indicator,” said Red Hook Schools Superintendent Paul Finch. “We try to stay focused on best teaching practices and developing positive relationships with students and parents. Our belief is that by staying focused on these things, the test scores will take care of themselves.”

Rhinebeck lost ground in terms of proficiency, compared to 2011, on all but 1 of the 12 tests. However, Rhinebeck’s results were still good enough to rank in the top three of the county in most of the 12 tests, with Rhinebeck 7th graders having the highest English scores. Proficiency levels exceeded the state averages in 11 of 12 areas — only the 3rd grade math scores fell just short of the mark.

“We’ve had a long tradition of being a high-achieving school district,” said Rhinebeck Schools Superintendent Joseph Phelan. “As long as we’re still doing well, which we are, we’re not going to hit the panic button… Unless we see longitudinally in a certain grade level or certain subject area we’re all of a sudden not doing as well as we think we should, then we’ll start to look at, ‘Is it a pedagogical problem? Is it a curriculum problem?’…. We want to use that data not as a goal but as a tool to keep improving.”

Last year, Rhinebeck led county proficiencies in seven areas, with Red Hook tops in three. They remain the two highest scoring districts in the county.

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