GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The state education department released the results of the math and English Language Arts tests that students in grades three to eight took in May 2011. The data shows that Greenburgh scored below the state’s and Westchester County’s averages for the percentage of students that achieved proficiency.
On the English Language Arts (ELA) test 50.6 percent of students achieved proficiency or better, slightly less than the state's 52.8 percent but far below the 64 percent countywide average for proficiency or better. A similar proportion was observed in the math test: the percentage of Greenburgh students who reached proficiency or better was 60.8, against 63.3 of the state and 70.1 of the county.
Parents and teachers, however, said that comparing Greenburgh’s results to the county’s is misleading.
“You are not comparing the same student bodies,” said Shelly Packer, president of Greenburgh Teacher’s Federation.
Sven Hoeger, whose son is a junior in Woodlands High School, also thinks that test scores are more a consequence of social and economic factors than teaching quality.
“It’s very obvious that districts with high proportion of minorities happen to perform lower,” he said. Such disparity reflects the “achievement gap” in the county. Statewide only 35 percent of African American and 37.2 percent of Hispanic students met or exceeded proficiency standards, according to the state education department.
Hoeger said that lower test scores don’t mean students are less smart. He mentioned his own daughter and son as examples. Both graduated in Greenburgh and are now in renowned colleges, respectively Harvey Mudd and Dartmouth.
“They only got that because of the grades they had here,” Hoeger said.
Greenburgh Central School District superintendent Ronald Smalls is on vacation and could not be reached. Terry Williams, the Board of Education’s president, didn’t want to comment on the tests scores before speaking to him.
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