TIOGA — Continuing the trend from the last couple meetings of presentations from different areas of the school, the Tioga Central School Board this week met with middle school teachers to gauge student performance and progress.

Data was presented comparing the middle school with the average of other districts around the state and county and, while math was mostly on par with the exception of a strong showing from the seventh-grade class, English language arts (ELA) was an issue for students of every grade at the middle school.

“ELA has been a tough one for us, and that goes back several years,” Principal Will Cook said.

To attempt to improve ELA, Cook credited his teachers with working together and developing methods to move forward, such as essentially developing their own workbooks and standards to compliment the curriculum and standards issued by the state.

Teacher Mary Grace Camin then dove into a breakdown of what those efforts look like and the differences between the fifth- and eighth-grade levels.

“Because we’re so aware of some of those gaps that we’re seeing that we’re trying expand that into knowledge that students are in need of,” she explained. “Maybe (they) performed well enough to meet an arbitrary cut-off score, but are very much in need of guidance as far as their writing goes.”

Part of that involves encouraging students to use written language to answer questions in detail utilizing examples, evidence and explanations.

Through that instruction, teachers are looking to increase students’ vocabulary through both reading and writing.

“They’re supposed to be conveying their understanding of their reading through their writing,” Camin said. “Because what we also come back to is that the state test is ultimately a reading test. So those shifts help us sort of point us in that direction when we’re moving forward with teaching them how to attack that test.”

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or jwilliams@morning-times.com. Follow Johnny Williams on Twitter @johnnywMT

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