State tests reveal advances for Shelter Island students

Jennifer Rylott, who was named assistant superintendent Monday night by the Shelter Island Board of Education, announced the results of State testing, which occurred last spring. There has been significant improvements in student performance, the State’s report revealed, since 2019 when the tests were last administered. Ms. Rylott noted that in past years, the State tests have spanned a few days, while in 2021, they were administered on only one day.

The information became available to the district a couple of months ago, but the State had embargoed its release until now.

Because of the COVID pandemic, testing was suspended in 2020. A change in calculations involving student participation in the tests resulted in the district being targeted by the State Education Department as needing improvements. The positive side of the designation was an additional $50,000 award to be used to help raise scores. But the Board hopes the 2021 scores that showed improvements will result in the district being removed from that targeted list.

In 2019, families that chose to opt their children out of the testing saw the students not tested given a zero score, which was factored into the overall district score. Shelter Island has significantly improved the participation rate, and the zero scoring is no longer a factor, Ms. Rylott said.

A summary of the 2021 results showed significant increases, particularly in the English Language Arts and some progress in the math portion of the tests, Ms. Rylott said.

Of the 68 students who took the English Language Arts test, 38% scored at a top level, exceeding standards for their grades. There were 68% who scored at a level 3 proficiency or a level 4. Those who tested at a level 2 are considered only partly proficient and those at level one are well below what is considered proficiency.

There were 81 students eligible to take the English Language Arts test this year.

Nine of 12 special education students eligible for the tests showed 11% at a level 4 and 33% scoring a level 3 or 4.

Ms. Rylott also pointed to subgroup scores for English language learners and economically disadvantaged students. Among the English language learners, no student tested at a level 4 this year or in 2019. One tested at a level 3 this year with none testing at that level in 2019. Two students in that subgroup tested at a level 2 this year, while no one tested at level 2 in 2019, and three tested at a level 1 this year compared with six who tested at that level in 2019.

As for those in the economically disadvantaged group, 11 tested at a top level 4 this year compared with only two testing at that level in 2019. Eight tested at a level three in 2021, compared with one in 2019. Six tested at a level 2 this year compared with 11 at that level in 2019 and four tested at a level 1 this year, with eight testing at level one in 2019.

As for the math scores, 53 of 66 eligible students took the test with 11% scoring at the top level 4 while 40% scored at either a level 3 or 4. Six of nine special education students were assessed.

Among the two subgroups, there were no English language learners testing at levels 3 or 4 this year or in 2019. Two tested at level 2 this year and one in 2019. Six English language learners tested at level 1 in 2019, but only one tested at that level this year.

As for the economically disadvantaged students, two tested at level 4 this year compared with one in 2019, and seven tested at a level 3 this year as compared with one in 2019. Three tested at level 2 this year while eight had tested at that level in 2019. Nine tested at level 1 this year compared with 12 in 2019.

Each year, the State Education Department makes changes to its procedures, so Ms. Rylott is awaiting more information from the state about the 2022 testing.

Stepping up

Gone is the title director of personnel, data and instruction, as Ms. Rylott assumed the post of assistant superintendent Monday night.

Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D.,noted that Ms. Rylott’s responsibilities have long included the responsibilities of an assistant superintendent.

As a tenured staff member, she continues her tenure and compensation package, but now officially holds the title listed by the state that best matches her responsibilities.

Board member and former Board president, Kathleen Lynch said the title was “a long-time coming.”

Ms. Rylott work through the years has included program development for special education students, as well as information relating to student performance, scheduling, summer school organization and compiling and filing numerous reports required by New York State.