Accountability Common Core Education Reform Fraud New York Standardized Testing

Leonie Haimson: Test Scores in New York State Are Meaningless, Again

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Leonie Haimson assesses the latest test scores from New York. New York is still using the Common Core, but with a new name, so of course the majority of students in the state “failed,” which was the purpose of the Common Core standards, to make public schools look bad so that privatization would be easier to sell to the public.

Leonie has something that no one in the New York State Education Department has: a historical memory, clear knowledge of the frequent changes in cut scores, constant manipulation of the data.

Leonie writes:

“The NY state and city test scores were released this week. Proficiency rates statewide increased again though by a smaller amount than last year. In English Language Arts, the percentage of students in grades 3-8 who scored at proficient levels increased by an average of 1.9 percentage points; from 37.9% in 2016 to 39.8%. In math, the students who scored at proficiency rose to 40.2%, up 1.1 points from 29.1% last year.

“In NYC the increases were a little larger: a gain of more than two points in ELA proficiency to 40.6% and 1.4 points to 37.8% proficiency in math.

“Commissioner Elia, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina claimed that the increase in proficiency since 2013 was strong evidence that our students and schools are making progress.

Yet the reality is that the trends over the last 15 years have not matched any of the trends on the more reliable national test called the NAEPs, for either NYC or the state as a whole.

“In fact, the NY State Education Department has appeared unable since 2002 to produce a reliable test and score it consistently enough to allow one to assess if there’s been any sort of improvement in our schools. Instead, Commissioners and their staff have repeatedly changed cut scores and set proficiency rates to make political points.

“There are many ways to show increases in proficiency — a metric notoriously easy to manipulate — including making the tests easier, shorter, giving them untimed, and/or changing the scoring by lowering the raw scores to scale scores or the cut scores need for proficiency. The state has used all these tricks over time.”

Read it all. She nails the fraud perpetrated by the state and ignored by journalists.

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