More than One Measure

Students in the Diocese Make Gains on 2014 State Tests
Respectfully submitted by: Mrs. Diane Phelan, Associate Superintendent for Evaluations

Students within the Diocese of Brooklyn showed gains in the second year of the Common Core aligned math and English Language Arts (ELA) tests.  A larger percentage of students in Grades 4, 6 and 8 scored proficient in both math and ELA in 2014 as compared to the 2013 tests.  In the spring of 2013, New York State redesigned state tests to align with the Common Core standards to determine if students were on track for college and career readiness.

Within the Diocese of Brooklyn, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency standard (scoring at Levels 3 or 4) increased in ELA as follows:

  • Grade 4 improved from 40.1% in 2013 to 44.0% in 2014
  • Grade 6 improved from 34.4% in 2013 to 35.0% in 2014
  • Grade 8 improved from 41.2% in 2013 to 46.0% in 2014

Within the Diocese of Brooklyn, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency standard (scoring at Levels 3 or 4) increased in Math as follows:

  • Grade 4 improved from 26.1% in 2013 to 34.0% in 2014
  • Grade 6 improved from 20.1% in 2013 to 35.0% in 2014
  • Grade 8 improved from 18.6% in 2013 to 31.0% in 2014

Schools and academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn once again surpassed the New York City and New York State public schools in all tested grades in ELA as depicted in the comparative chart.  In math, we surpassed the New York City schools in Grades 6 and 8.  The improved scores that we have attained on the spring 2014 state tests is a reflection of the hard work, dedication and progress that students, teachers and principals have been making at the local school/academy level.  Although, our Diocesan students made great strides in all tested grades and subjects, our largest increases were in math.

In addition, principals and teachers received instructional reports for the 2014 state tests to help understand and guide instruction and classroom assessments during the current academic year.  The state also released 50% of the 2014 math and ELA test questions to help teachers see the type of higher order thinking questions that students are expected to answer with the rigor and depth of knowledge needed for a student to be college and career ready.

In this writer’s opinion, state tests are still only one of many measures used to evaluate students within the Diocese of Brooklyn.  To this end, schools and academies within our diocese use “multiple measures” of assessment to determine what students know and are able to do.  However, the New York State tests did “raise the instructional bar” for all teachers and principals in New York State.  To that end, we are seeing improvement in our state test scores within the Diocese of Brooklyn and genuine academic growth for our students.

2014 NYS ELA and Math Test Results
Grades 4, 6 and 8
Comparative Chart
Percentage of Students Scoring at Levels 3 and 4 (Meets or Exceeds NYS Proficiency Standards):

2014 NYS Testing Program New York State(includes all Public and Charter Schools in NY State – no Nonpublic Schools data) New York City( only NY City Public Schools – no Charter Schools, no Nonpublic Schools data) Diocese of Brooklyn(Schools and Academies within the Diocese with appropriate grade levels tested)
Grade 4-ELA 33.2% 31.1% 44.0%
Grade 6-ELA 28.9% 25.3% 35.0%
Grade 8-ELA 35.5% 28.9 % 46.0%
Grade 4-Math 42.6% 40.0% 34.0%
Grade 6-Math 38.1% 33.8% 35.0%
Grade 8-Math 22.2% 22.8% 31.0%

January 11, 2015


Below is information on the 2013 and 2014 TerraNova results.

During October 2013 and 2014, schools and academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn administered CTB McGraw-Hill’s innovative national achievement test, TerraNova Common Core, to students in Grades 3 through 8. This standardized test measures student progress in Reading, Language and Mathematics, in conjunction with InView, the cognitive abilities test that measures academic aptitude. TerraNova Common Core tests greater depths of knowledge and asks students to justify their answers. Students are tested with a blend of multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions that allow students to explain their answers to questions and receive full or partial credit on test items. The TerraNova Common Core test results are also normed to the week in October when the test was administered.

TerraNova test reports provide our teachers with the data they need to formulate instructional programs that will help our students meet the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Since Catholic elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens administer this test in the Fall, TerraNova is not only used as an achievement test but also as a diagnostic tool. This affords teachers time to remediate students and/or classroom weaknesses prior to the state tests in the spring. TerraNova also allows teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students at every ability level.

The Fall 2013 and 2014 TerraNova Common Core test results for the Diocese indicate that, over time, academic achievement increases as students continue their education at a Catholic elementary school or academy.

The Diocesan national percentile test scores for TerraNova Common Core are reported in the chart below. For example, when interpreting the chart, students in Grade 8 within the Diocese of Brooklyn, on average, scored higher than 75 percent of the students in the national norm group for the Reading Composite national percentile. Unlike most tests where 50 percent is considered failing, the 50th National Percentile is the national average or middle score. As depicted in the chart, all Diocesan national percentiles in Reading, Language and Math in Grades 3 through 8 are at or above the national average.

TerraNova Common Core –  2013 – Diocesan Test Results:

Diocese of Brooklyn Reading Composite National Percentile Language Composite National Percentile Math Composite  National Percentile
Grade 3 61 60 54
Grade 4 64 65 50
Grade 5 70 64 58
Grade 6 69 67 61
Grade 7 64 76 65
Grade 8 75 75 74

TerraNova Common Core – 2014 – Diocesan Test Results:

Diocese of Brooklyn Reading Composite National Percentile Language Composite National Percentile Math Composite  National Percentile
Grade 3 64 61 57
Grade 4 65 62 50
Grade 5 70 63 62
Grade 6 69 67 64
Grade 7 66 78 67
Grade 8 75 75 74