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Dist. 26 English scores up: Study

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My 11-year, District 26 longitudinal statistical study of the English Language Arts standardized reading test reveals that this year the results are outstanding. A remarkable 92.9 percent of elementary school students and 89.9 percent of middle school students met or exceeded ELA reading standards.

The elementary vs. middle school achievement gap of 3 percent is not statistically significant. This exceptional result is due to the statistically significant test score improvement in 2009 over 2008 in every middle school grade.

The percentage of students that met or exceeded ELA reading standards in elementary school grades 3, 4 and 5 is 92.8 percent, 92.4 percent and 93.4 percent, respectively. The corresponding percentage in middle school grades 6, 7 and 8 is 91.8 percent, 93 percent and 85.2 percent, respectively.

The eighth-grade 85.2 percent result is striking. Its bell-shaped distribution of reading test scores from 1999-2009 has a mean of 69.9 percent and a standard deviation of 6.6 percent. The reading score of 85.2 percent exceeds its distribution mean of 69.9 percent by 15.3 percent, which is statistically significant.

Only 26 out of a total 5,005 — 0.52 percent — elementary school students and 14 out of a total of 5,737 — 0.24 percent — middle school students show minimal or no achievement of reading standards (level 1). These 40 failing students are required to attend summer school to improve their reading skills to be promoted to the next grade.

Only 331 out of 5,005 — 6.61 percent — elementary school students and 564 out of 5,737 — 9.83 percent — middle school students show partial achievement of reading standards (level 2). These students will be promoted to the next grade.

The outstanding 2009 ELA reading test score results indicate that District 26 students are not sufficiently challenged. ELA reading standards should be raised to stimulate and motivate students to higher learning levels.

Bernard Hanisch

Fresh Meadows

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