Posts tagged "testing testing"
February 21, 2013
New York State students’ scores on a test known as “the nation’s report card” have not risen as quickly as scores in other large states, according to a new report.
The report compares student performance in five states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a biennial assessment administered by the National Center for Education Statistics. The reading, math, and science tests are considered the only reliable yardstick for measuring educational progress across states.
In 2011 — the last time that fourth- and eighth-graders took the tests — New York was one of only two states to post significant score declines since the previous test administration. (New York City’s scores were flat.)
The new report shows that New York has also posted smaller gains over time than most “mega-states.” The states are California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, and with New York, they enroll 40 percent of the country’s students. (more…)
November 1, 2011
News on “the nation’s report card,” sent home today by the U.S. Department of Education, is not good for New York State.
New York was one of just two states to post statistically significant declines on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a biennial assessment administered by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The state’s fourth-grade math scores fell for the second straight time, from a high of 243 points in 2007 to 238 this year. Scores on the eighth-grade math test and the reading tests showed no significant change.
Just 35 percent of fourth-graders in New York scored proficient or higher on the exam, considered the only reliable yardstick for measuring educational progress in a field of flawed state assessments. On the state’s own tests, whose scores dropped last year when state officials acknowledged that they had been inflated, more than 66 percent of fourth-graders were considered proficient in math.
It was the discrepancy between state test scores and NAEP results that triggered state officials to acknowledge that the state’s test scores were inflated in the first place.
State Education Commissioner John King called today’s results “disappointing and unacceptable.” In a statement, he said new state tests aligned with the Common Core curriculum standards, set to be given for the first time in three years, would improve New York students’ performance on the NAEP. (more…)
October 17, 2011
ALBANY — State education officials today received the go-ahead to request $2.1 million to expand the scale of the state’s test security program.
That funding, which the state legislature must approve, would support several policy changes. To catch cheating after it happens, the state will broaden erasure analysis to cover 10 percent of all elementary and middle school state tests. And as a preventive measure, teachers will be barred from grading their own students’ tests starting next year. The state is also requiring the city to boost on-the-ground monitoring of schools on testing days.
Deputy Commissioner Valerie Grey presented the new security measures to members of the Board of Regents during their monthly meeting today. The committee voted to approve the measures, and a final okay is expected when the full board convenes tomorrow. (more…)
September 26, 2011
The independent investigator who is appointed to scrutinize New York’s testing system will get full view of the limited erasure analysis that has already been done, according to State Education Commissioner John King.
King delivered the message in a letter to district superintendents yesterday that suggested he had fielded worries about the cost and content of a new initiative to bolster test security.
First, King sought to allay concerns about the news, reported by the New York Times this weekend, that erasure analysis detected some test score improprieties.
“Obviously, this was not a large-scale, in-depth pilot of erasure analysis, nor did it rise to the level of a major finding or report,” he wrote, noting that the results of only eight exams were analyzed.
But he said indicated that erasure analysis could be on the horizon as the state continues to weigh initiatives to protect against cheating — and that it would already have been in place if the state had funded the Board of Regents’ recommendation for erasure analysis last year. (more…)
August 1, 2011
New York State has launched a fast-moving process to tighten test security before it risks following Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey into cheating scandals.
State Education Commissioner John King has convened a group to review “all aspects of the state’s testing system,” according to a statement from Jonathan Burman, a State Education Department spokesman. The group, which Deputy Commissioner Valerie Grey is leading, is planning to work quickly, Burman said: It was formed in mid-July and will announce a “series of measures” to ensure test integrity before the school year begins a month from now.
The announcement comes days before the state is set to release this year’s reading and math test scores and amid growing revelations about widespread cheating in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. It also follows mounting anxiety among state officials about whether schools’ performance had been inflated: Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in February that New York wished to avoid becoming “the Enron of test scores, the Enron of graduation rates.”
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said he appreciated the state’s efforts but emphasized that New York City has for years “gone above and beyond” state requirements when it comes to ensuring test integrity.
“We welcome the state examining its standards, as it has always been its regulatory responsibility to ensure the reliability and security of state tests,” he said in a statement. (more…)
April 26, 2011
A study released last week concluded that New Yorkers lack a robust understanding of the Constitution. Also buried in the paper: a damning condemnation of a recent decision by state officials that has gone relatively unnoticed.
The study surveyed adult New Yorkers on their knowledge of the basic structure of government. The authors Eric Lane, a professor at Hofstra University, and Meg Barnette of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, conclude that few New Yorkers know “even a little about the Constitution.”
They connect the poor showing to New York’s response to the federal No Child Left Behind law, arguing that the focus on math and English has hurt students’ Social Studies knowledge.
And they highlight a recent decision by the state Board of Regents to cancel an annual Social Studies test for fourth- and eighth-graders as the latest symptom of that disregard, which they dramatically term an “abandonment of history”:
For years New York required social studies assessment tests for its fourth and eighth grade students. The eighth grade assessment consisted mostly of history questions, while the fourth grade assessment tested skills such as graph reading. Overall, New Yorkers did not perform well on those tests, and New York City students performed horribly…As an explanation for this problematic showing, school officials said that they pay little attention to fourth and eighth grade social studies assessment tests “because they are not among the criteria used to determine if schools are performing adequately, either under state regulations or the federal No Child Left Behind law.”41 Proving that point, in the summer of 2010 the Board of Regents addressed the problem of low performance by ending the fourth and eighth grade social stud- ies assessment requirement, assuring, in the words of one education expert, the abandonment of history, and any hope for improvement in civic literacy at all.
The decision to cancel the test, made in June 2010, received little coverage at the time. In a memo explaining the move, the Board of Regents argued that the test was a casualty of budget deficits.
February 24, 2011
New York City fourth graders did about as poorly on a national science test in 2009 as those in other large American cities, but the city’s eighth graders lag behind their peers.
More than 60 percent of city eighth graders scored below basic on the National Assessment of Educational Progress science exams. Nationally, 38 percent of students scored below the basic level, and 56 percent of students in large city school districts did not meet that bar.
The city’s fourth graders fared better. Still, 44 percent scored below basic on the science tests. In other large cities, roughly the same percentage of students didn’t score above the “basic” bar.
The Department of Education’s Chief Academic Officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, said that the city was focusing on introducing national “Common Core” standards into classrooms as a strategy to boost achievement in science. The standards include a focus on reading and writing non-fiction and technical texts in subjects like science. (more…)
September 14, 2010
SAT scores of city public school students rose slightly over last year’s scores, bringing a four-year trend of declining performance to an end, according to data released by the Department of Education today.
The average city SAT score was five points higher on the reading portion of the test, four points higher on the math, and two points higher for writing. The gains are statistically significant, but not yet great enough to cancel out several years of loses. Today, the city’s average scores to roughly where they were two years ago.
City students’ average score was 439 out of 800 on the reading section, 462 on math, and 434 on writing.
The score increases are mainly due to improved results from Asian, white, and Hispanic students. Black students’ scores stagnated, except in the case of the writing SAT, where they fell by three points. (more…)
September 3, 2010
Students at 100 New York City schools will be among the first to take early versions of the new standardized tests being built with federal dollars.
The schools will test early versions of new third- through eleventh-grade exams that a consortium of 26 states — New York included — is creating. The same schools will get extra funding this year to pilot the new common core standards in their classrooms.
Because New York is a “governing state” in the consortium, its education officials have already agreed to begin using the new tests by the 2014 school year. It also means that New York officials, including city Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky, are helping design the new tests.
The PARCC group — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — won a $170 million federal grant yesterday, which it will use to build the tests.
The new exams will complement the new national education standards that New York has also agreed to take on. They will also completely overhaul the form that state standardized exams take, and when they’re given, Suransky said today. (more…)
August 9, 2010
One thing is sure, even in an uncertain economy: Students will still take tests.
New York State made that official last week when it finalized some cost-cutting changes to the state’s high school testing program but left most exams and test dates intact.
Back in March, state officials issued a dramatic proposal to gut the high school testing program. The state could save $13.7 million annually, they said, by eliminating exams in all subjects except math, reading, and science; ending January and August test dates used to help students graduate; and no longer translating test materials into foreign languages.
After the state budget provided for part of the Education Department’s funding request, officials ultimately decided to enact a scaled-down set of test changes. Students will no longer take a social studies exam in grades 5 and 8, and students who study German, Hebrew, and Latin won’t be able to take a state exam in those subjects.
But the vast majority of the Regents exams required for graduation will remain in place, at least for now. (more…)