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In your 12/18/03 issue, the Geoffrey N. Gordon (Superintendent of Schools) letter on 4th and 8th grade scores was published. While he expressed concern for Port Washington's low scores and indicated credible short - and long-term steps to improve these scores, his underlying reason for these steps appears to be state and federal funding legislation. He states that Port's performance on these tests were "an artificially low ranking." His main measure appears to be the end game; that is, how well our high school seniors do on such things as physics Regents or acceptance at colleges like Yale.

But it is a long road from 4th grade to H.S. senior!

Let me put Port's 89 percent ranking (15th percentile) in the perspective of the following school districts which had 99 percent to 100 percent of their 4th grade students meeting standards:

Floral Park/Bellerose, Franklin Square, Garden City, Great Neck, Jericho, Locust Valley, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Roslyn and Syosset.

Also, Great Neck, Jericho, Syosset and Wantagh had both 4th and 8th grade rankings at or above 90 percent of the students meeting standards.

This seems far from artificial. What are these districts doing that Port Washington's not doing?

I do not believe that they are all teaching only to the test.

Arthur Cohen

Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics

Nassau Community College


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