Buffalo Schools ELA and Math Test Scores Show Minimal Change

Cash says results not expected after last year

Tom Puckett
August 22, 2019 - 3:46 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Buffalo Public Schools says there was minimal change in 2018 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics State Assessments, while many individual schools, including Receivership Schools, made notable increases in performance.

“These results are not what we had expected after last year’s notable growth when ELA saw a 5.6% proficiency increase, and Math proficiency increased by 3.8%,” said Superintendent Kriner Cash.  “We are now focused on stronger and more consistent proficiency improvement across the District for 2020.  Mixed results are no longer acceptable to me, and they are not enough for Buffalo's children. Together, we can and must do more.  Our sense of urgency and pace for improved student achievement cannot slow down.  We've come too far.”

Among 2019 test results:

Advanced English Language Learners made strongest gains in ELA, improving from 40.5% proficiency to 51.7% (300 of 580).

Five schools (#94, #65, #18, #30) including School #37, a receivership school, made impressive gains: #37 led the District in ELA with 10% improvement in proficiency.

Fewer students are refusing testing, and Buffalo’s participation rates are among the highest in the state.  State refusal rate 16%, BPS 6%.

Superintendent Cash says he knows “what happened, and what needs to be done,” including the following:

1)    Innovative use of personal devices (nearpod) will allow teachers to improve monitoring of their students’ classroom math performance more closely.

2)    Recent implementation of LETRS Professional Development (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) is raising every teachers expertise in basic foundational literacy skills.

3)    Taking best practices to scale by launching two laboratory schools (Riverside HS and West Hertel ES) that will function as demonstration sites for our proven instructional strategies.

4)    Focused literacy training that embeds culturally-responsive practices will continue to be implemented to align our strongest professional development efforts.

5)    Continue to implement strong gap-closing initiatives like MBK, social-emotional supports, trauma-informed care, restorative practices, and CLRT.

In addition, Superintendent Cash says he will ensure greater staffing stability to better support our 2/3 novice teachers and administrators, and Central Office Teams will be more strategically deployed.  Dr. Cash says that we must maintain our instructional priorities including: culture of every classroom is conducive to high quality teaching and learning; fidelity to the District’s high quality materials (endorsed by The New Teachers Project); independent reading every day for every student; all students explain and demonstrate their thinking; provide all students with the specific, differentiated help they need; and high expectations for every student.


“Going forward,” Dr. Cash concludes, “our strong recommendation to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is to provide districts with two solid formative assessments that align with the high stakes summative state tests so we can monitor progress and make accurate instructional adjustments effectively.”

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