NYS fourth-grade test scores drop, Superintendent, ‘We are working to get students back on track’

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Comptroller’s office released a review of recent federal data  which shows students’ performance dropped significantly from 2019 to 2022. The results were so surprising to New York State, it prompted the state comptroller’s office to conduct this separate review of the data. The findings of the state were released earlier this week.

The State Comptroller’s review also included how the pandemic impacted student performance in New York. News10NBC spoke to the Superintendent of the Hilton School District about what he and his colleagues have put in place to address this matter.  

New York was allocated over $15 billion in emergency education aid during the pandemic from the federal government, with $14 billion from three rounds of the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund assistance. The aid was aimed at elementary and secondary schools and must be obligated by September 2024.

Based on data from Comptroller DiNapoli’s COVID-19 Relief Program Tracker, through Jan. 3,  New York’s school districts have spent roughly 40% of ESSER funds.

The Deputy State Comptroller for Budget and Policies team did the number crunching, analyzing the recent data released on the nations report card. The data is important because it provides a uniformed view of what’s happening across states and compares New York student test scores to others.

“What was troubling was, students really suffered significant setbacks. When you peer into and look at the fourth grade in math, the loss was greater,” says the Deputy State Comptroller for Budget and Policy, Maria Doullis.  “Taking a deep dive in that data, the losses were across all racial ethnic and gender categories.”

Doullis explains, based on research conducted, the pandemic and remote learning played a huge role in this. Although it was expected, the magnitude of the low scores was quite surprising. The Comptroller’s office is urging New York school districts to assess their plans for spending federal pandemic funds and to target funds towards children most in need.

The Superintendent of the Hilton School district and President of the Monroe County Superintendents is not confident one test gives an accurate snapshot of what is happening.

“Things vary among school districts,” says Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek. “In the Hilton school district, we are looking at a single digit decline which is different than what some folks are claiming .For some districts it can be from four to six percent.  For some of my other colleagues, nine percent.”

He and his superintendent colleagues in Monroe County have directed millions of dollars provided by New York State to helping students get back to reading on grade level.

“Some of our districts are having Saturday school and small group instruction. Many districts have implemented multi-tier systems of support,” Kosiorek said.

Districts are aware they have their work cut out for them and say the funding is there, getting the appropriate programs in place has already begun across the county.

Kosiorek says, based on the length of the pandemic, it may take a least two to three years to get student’s where they need to be.