Posts tagged "NUMBERS GAME"
July 12, 2012
For years, the city touted its improved test scores, saying that higher and higher percentages of its students were proficient on the standardized exams.
A new report by the Independent Budget Office, which tracked the change in year-to-year test scores of individual students for the same period, disputes the gains the city claimed.
That’s because more than 60 percent of students from a single cohort who were tested from third to sixth grade between 2006 to 2009 on the English language arts exam didn’t improve their proficiency levels, the IBO analysis found. Thirty percent ended up at a higher level and eight percent ended up at a lower level.
“At a time when the city was saying things were getting better in the school system, it looks different when you look at performances of the individual student,” said Ray Domanico, director of education research at the IBO.
Domanico acknowledged that there were some limitations to looking at proficiency levels alone. He said comparing state test scores from one year to the next is less than ideal, because a proficiency level in third grade doesn’t necessarily mean a student learned nothing if they earn the same level in subsequent grades.
But given the data, Domanico said proficiency levels — rather than raw scores — was the only possible metric to measure individual student progress, in an era when education officials are increasingly evaluating schools and teachers based on students growth on test scores. He added that proficiency level is the most relevant metric to the public, because the city uses that data to make decisions about student promotion and admission, and shares it with parents. (more…)
June 15, 2011
The 14 high schools the city is trying to close this year posted lower-than-average graduation rates — but they are not all the city’s worst.
Now, teachers union officials are drawing attention to three other high schools approved for closure that posted graduation rate increases two times or more than the city’s overall 2 percent gain. In the Bronx, Christopher Columbus High School’s 4-year graduation rate rose by 5.7 percentage points, to 41.6 percent. Norman Thomas High School, in Manhattan, saw its 4-year rate go from 37 percent to 47.8 percent. Brooklyn’s Paul Robeson High School saw a similar leap, to 50 percent from 40.4 percent last year.
“We knew that we had increased our graduation rate last year by 10 percent and have been saying that since November but no one pays any attention,” said Stefanie Siegel, a Robeson teacher who has been active in protests against the school’s planned closure.
“When our spirits were high after we won the court case last year, we made great gains in a short period of time,” she said.
That court case was the lawsuit the teachers union won to stop the city from closing 19 low-performing schools. Performance boosts at three of the high schools kept them off the chopping block this year. Two of the schools got higher progress report grades, 85 percent of which depend on graduation rates and students’ progress toward graduation. The city said it was confident in a leadership change at the third school.
The schools with oversized gains this year still lag well behind the citywide average 4-year graduation rate of 61 percent. And many of the other schools slated for closure continued to post dismal graduation figures. (more…)
August 5, 2009
Mayor Bloomberg’s chief spokesman for his reelection campaign, Howard Wolfson, brushed aside claims that the city’s test scores and graduation rates are inflated in an appearance on NY1′s “Road to City Hall” last night.
“If we can’t talk about the data, then why are we even having a conversation?” he said.
Wolfson came to talk about the mayor’s new transit initiative, but he ended up spending much of the interview discussing the mayor’s education record, which is shaping up to be a centerpiece of his campaign. Wolfson only become animated when host Dominic Carter noted that some critics believe that the city and state have found ways to artificially inflate the numbers.
“I mean, yes, they can say crime rate really isn’t low, you’re cooking the books. Test scores are not dramatically higher, you’re cooking the books. Yes, you can say that about anything. I can say that about the stratospheric ratings that you enjoy every night, oh, you’re cooking the books. The fact is, the numbers are what they are,” Wolfson said.
Carter prodded Wolfson with an example of numbers that do lie, citing times when medical examiners have been encouraged to withhold death reports until the following year, lowering the city’s murder rate in key election cycles. (more…)
October 31, 2008
The above policy change, passed by the state Board of Regents in September, is something to watch. It will allow students still learning English to get extra help on state tests for two years after they pass a English as a Second Language proficiency exam.
The way English Language Learner students take tests has been a matter of dispute in the city for a while, and it comes up a lot in the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to explain why students test scores have not gone up as much as some would have hoped. Their reason: that a federal policy change led more ELL students to take tests.
By the same logic, giving accommodations to ELL students might help push test scores up.