Carol Burris here explains the deep, dark secret of standardized testing.

Whoever is in charge decides what the passing mark is. The passing mark is the “cut score.” Those in charge can decide to create a test that everyone passes because the cut score is so low and the questions so simple, or they can create a test that everyone fails. In fact, because of field testing, the test makers know with a high degree of precision how every question will “function,” that is, how hard or easy it is and how many students are likely to get it right or wrong.

As Burris shows, New York’s Commissioner John King aligned the Common Core tests with the SAT, knowing in advance that nearly 70% would not pass. That was his choice. Whatever his motive, he wanted a high failure rate. As King predicted, 69% failed. It was his choice.

Policymakers in Kentucky chose a more reasonable cut score and only about half their students failed.

Are students in Kentucky that much smarter than students in New York? No, but they may have smarter policymakers.

Knowing these shenanigans gives more reason to opt your children out of the state testing. The game is rigged against them.