The results are in, and as expected, changes in scoring of state standardized tests have resulted in lower scores for many students in the area.
The new standards raised the score needed to achieve proficiency for each grade and test.
The timing of the recent decision by the Board of Regents — just weeks before the scores were due to be released — to change the scoring of tests that had already been taken is questionable.
The Regents decided to raise the standards for the English language arts and math tests taken in May by students in grades 3 through 8 after a study showed that state scores were not calibrated to performance on a national exam.
Unadilla Valley Central School Superintendent Robert Mackey said that changing the scoring after the tests were taken has a "tinge of unfairness" — and he is right.
It is unfair, not only to the students, but also to the teachers and administrators, who had no warning and were unable to make adjustments before their students took the tests.
The test scores range from 1 to 4, with schools required to provide support services for students scoring a 1 or 2.
However, the Regents approved amendments that will allow schools greater flexibility in providing support services if they do not incur any additional financial burden from scores on the May tests.
It can be argued that early identification of students in need of more help is a good thing, and that teachers will focus their efforts on helping these students improve in these areas _ even without additional support services.
But it can also be argued that if the standards had not been raised until the next set of tests teachers would have had sufficient time to revise their curriculums to prepare their students for the new higher standards.
Another consideration is the effect of the low scores on morale. Students who made a good-faith effort but did not reach proficiency — and their parents and teachers — are bound to be disappointed, at best.
We agree that it is important for the state standards to align with national standards; this would allow area students to compete on a level playing field with students from around the country.
As Karen Rowe, Oneonta City School District curriculum coordinator, said, "in the long run it will be a good thing to align state and national standards."
But in the short term, it will be unnecessarily painful for some.