A Moment of Clarity: Test Scores in New York State Are Recalibrated

Many of you have no doubt heard the great news over the past few years about rising ELA and math test scores in the New York City Public Schools. But wait, there was more: test scores were rising all across the state, no matter what the intervention.

The New York State Department of Education has recalibrated the state test scores for ELA and math, and this moment of clarity tells us that “just more than half of city students in the third through eighth grades
are proficient in math, not four out of every five, as they were led to
believe last year.”

The New York Times goes even further:

But perhaps even more significant is that the state’s readjustment of
the scores exposes the score inflation and could raise new questions
about the imprecision of educational testing, even as policy makers
across the country, including President Obama,
are relying on such measurements to determine teacher pay and whether
or not a school should be shut down. In New York City, the scores on the
state tests have been used to assign A through F grades to each school,
as well as thousands of dollars in principal and teacher bonuses.

So, after having watched the curriculum narrow significantly since NCLB, particularly for schools not meeting annual yearly progress and for those students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, what does this portend? More of the same? Meaning, more and more test prep, more and more teaching to the test, more and more testing, all at the expense of all subjects not ELA and math.

Or, is there something different on the horizon, perhaps a fundamental rethinking of what education and testing really means, with an renewed commitment to expand rather than narrow the curriculum?

Doesn’t this just make your blood boil, the thought that subjects like the arts and physical education, were allowed to decline based upon a faulty system of measurement? And this decline was further fueled by the positive results from a narrowed curriculum, only to learn that the results were illusory?

Click here to read about this in The New York Times.

Click here to read about this in GothamSchools.org

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