The head of Néw York state’s Board of Regents Merryl Tisch says everyone should calm down about the collapse of test scores across the state. Next year, she promised, the scores will go up.
You can count on that, because the state commissioner can lower the cut score if he wants to avoid another embarrassment like this year.
What you can also count on, sadly, is the humiliation that 70% of the children in grades 3-8 will feel when they learn from their teacher that they failed the state tests. The numbers who failed are even higher among children who are black, English language learners, and students with disabilities.
This year, the state decided to align its categories with NAEP, not understanding that NAEP proficient is set at a very high level–not a “passing” mark at all– and that the only state where as much as 50% of students reached proficient on NAEP is Massachusetts, after 20 years of NAEP testing. Apparently New York is content to tell the majority of its students that they don’t deserve high school diplomas or the chance to go to college.
Consider this: the proportion of students who “passed” under the new Common Core baseline was only 31.1% in total. (Last year it was 77.4%).
Among English language learners, only 3.2% “passed.” (Last year it was 11.7%.)
Among children with disabilities, only 5% “passed.” (Last year it was 15.5%.)
Among black students, only 16.7% “passed.” (Last year it was 37.2%.)
Among Hispanic students, only 17.7% “passed.” (Last year it was 40.0%).
Among white students, only 39.9% passed. (Last year it was 85.9%.)
But not to worry, litttle children. New York and the Common Core will make you global competitors.
How do we know? We don’t. Forget about critical thinking. Don’t ask for evidence. Take it on faith. This is, after all, faith-based policy.