By Matthew Saari

Granville Central School dropped 13 spots in a ranking of regional schools.

Every year, Albany Business Review publishes a ranking of Capitol Region public school districts. The publication collates data from the state Education Department’s School Report Card data and uses a weighted system to determine rankings.

“The overall score…is a weighted tabulation that takes into account five categories: language and reading; social studies; science; math; and a graduation score that measures graduation and dropout rates, and the percentage of graduates with advanced Regents diplomas,” reads the publication.

The data used in this ranking is drawn from the 2018-2019 academic year.

Granville was ranked 65th, down from 52 last year. Eighty-four school districts received rankings.

Granville school superintendent Tom McGurl said he believes the main factor driving the drop is the district’s test scores.

“We’ve been pretty public about not being pleased where our test scores are at,” he said. “I’m sure that’s what’d driving it.”

Graduation rates certainly aren’t to blame. For the 2018-2019 school year, Granville graduated 90% of its senior cohort. Of those, 28% achieved advanced Regents diplomas.

Testing does appear to be the issue, with the remaining metrics being derived from state testing data. For English Language Arts (ELA), which is administered to grades 3-8, 36% of Granville students earned a “proficient” ranking. Math test scores were similar, with 34% being labeled proficient.

Grades 4 and 8 science testing was much higher, with 85% earning proficient status.

School officials have been leery of the state ELA and math assessment data for a while now, primarily because parents can opt their children out of taking those tests and the exams have no bearing on their final grade.

In January however, the Sentinel reported that Granville’s Regents examinations were a mixed bag of results, ranging from the high end of 89% proficient in Earth Science to a low of 38% proficient in chemistry.

McGurl acknowledged hits, noting the district did have a plan in place to address the issue before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and upended it.

“It kind of put everything on pause,” he said.

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