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State and LI math scores rise significantly

Math scores are up on Long Island and statewide - enough so that state educational leaders could soon start raising the bar.

In Nassau County, the percentage of eighth-graders passing state math tests rose from 85.3 percent last year to 91.4 this year. Suffolk's percentage increased from 81.1 to 89 percent.

Click here to see school-by-school results and here for school district results .

Across the state, eighth-grade passing rates climbed from 69.8 percent to 80.2 percent, continuing a six-year trend. State officials said a rise in scaled scores and in passing percentages indicates that gains are solid, and not just based on marginal movement by students who earned barely enough points to move from the partly proficient category to the fully proficient.

Results were released Monday at an Albany news conference.

State officials caution that the latest results, while encouraging, are hardly cause for jubilation.

Merryl Tisch of Manhattan, the new chancellor of the state's Board of Regents, said her colleagues soon will weigh the question of whether to start raising state "cut" scores, which determine student proficiency. She indicated that the revision process could begin soon, but could take several years to complete.

To illustrate the need for higher test scores, Tisch said that only about half of eighth-graders earning math scores slightly above the current proficiency line ever graduate from high school.

The chancellor added that a passing score of 75 on a high school Regents exam would be a better indicator of students' readiness for college than the current 65.

"What today's scores tell me is not that we should be celebrating . . . but that New York State needs to raise its standards . . . " said Tisch, who assumed her post in April.

Results announced Monday are from math tests administered in March to more than 1.2 million students statewide. The state recently announced similar improvement on English tests.

"Students know what's expected of them - they know how important the tests are," said Rob Maurer, a sixth-grade teacher at Selden Middle School in Centereach, where math scores are up. Maurer added that the point is driven home almost daily in his classroom, as students discuss different ways of solving problems similar to those on state tests.

Selden school officials have seen a 10 percent jump in students passing math tests this year - which Maurer says leaves him "ecstatic."

Other Island districts with substantial gains: Glen Cove, up to 87.5 percent this year, from 78.3 percent last year; Patchogue-Medford, at 83.8 percent, up from 66 percent; and Brentwood, 78.2 percent, up from 67.5 percent.

Click here to see school-by-school results and here for school district results .

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