Monday, August 11, 2014

Breaking: NY State Ed Department Releases 2014 Test Results (Fred Smith Parody)


New York State Education Department Releases April 2014 Test Results:

Students Statewide Make Progress Meeting Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS)

Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and State Education Commissioner John King, Jr. announced gains in English and math this year.

They made the announcement outside Kipp Tech Valley Charter School in Albany.  Consistent with the aims of Common Core, the school web site says Kipp “opened its doors with the promise that hard work would lead to academic success and the road to college.”

Core-aligned assessments were initiated in 2013.  The 2014 tests provide the first chance to weigh student performance against the Common Core baseline established in 2013.  The percentage deemed proficient this spring was higher in English and math for grades 3-8 combined.

The CCLS are integral to the Regents Reform Agenda to develop the critical thinking and analytic skills of students and deeper understanding of math.  More rigorous tests identify which students are ready for college and careers and which will need academic help to succeed after high school.

Tisch said, "These results vindicate New York’s efforts to aggressively implement higher standards, more accurate assessments, a more content rich curriculum and a teacher evaluation system to support teaching excellence."  She noted that teachers, principals and superintendents worked extraordinarily hard to launch the Common Core.

King said, “This work for college- and career-readiness, citizenship-readiness, helping students be prepared when they get to college, so they don't end up in remedial courses—this is ultimately a patriotic endeavor.” 

In a departure from past practice, the Department is not providing information on overall changes in percentages or scale score comparisons with previous results.  Deputy Commissioner Ken Wagner explained that the decision was made because of the upset caused last year by releasing results that appeared to show a large decline in performance.  Unfortunately, the public took this negative progress to mean that schools were failing, although students faced very demanding assessments.

As the core-aligned exams were being rolled out, the Chancellor and Commissioner were reassured by a panel of privately-funded Regents Research Fellows and outside testing experts that the instruments were properly developed and valid.

The 2014 data show gains by minorities, English Language Learners, students with disabilities and districts in all need/resource categories.  Each Big 5 city also improved, as New York City outpaced the others.

Wagner added several points about the 2013 and 2014 exams:

·   Data processing was completed in June, enabling SED to analyze and release the results in 27% fewer days this year.
·   The 2013 Technical Report has just been posted.  It will allow researchers to study the quality of last year’s foundational Core exams.  While this is more than a year after the test was given, SED wanted the information to be accurate and provide a “transparent baseline.”
·   A year ago, to calm parents who felt the tests were too long, he did an item analysis concluding that students had enough time to finish the exams. Parts of it will appear in the 2013 Report
·   Nevertheless, the 2014 tests were shortened. This concession is contrary to SED belief that having more items lets a wider range of performance indicators be tested at varying degrees of difficulty.
·   Revealing all items would expose embedded field test items, precluding their use on future exams. But SED has posted more items online this year despite concern that disclosure encourages too much time to be spent on test preparation.
·   While some objections to giving students stand-alone field tests in June may have merit, this approach is a necessary, if less than ideal, complement to embedding items.
·   Kentucky, the first state to administer core-aligned testing in 2011, saw a 2% rise in reading and math proficiency the next year.

The Commissioner acknowledged how perplexed he and the Chancellor are, knowing that after No Child Left Behind, the “tragic achievement gap” persists.

King said we are still in a transitional mode and do not know the precise course testing will take over the next few years as our standards evolve into multi-state standards.  There will be continuity, however, because Pearson will remain the test developer after its five-year contract expires in 2015.

In reflecting on the work being done here, Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday said, “New York has shown great leadership in raising the bar on student outcomes to the level of college- and career-readiness.”

The Chancellor reminded New Yorkers that “since the idea of the Common Core began to take hold in 2010, there have been signs of positive movement—evidence that pursuing the Core was wise—in spite of a few growing pains.”


union predicts "slight rise" in test scores this year

see also Fred Smith on unusually high no. of “clunkers” on 2013 exams
Reasons behind Fred Smith parody - see below the break

I put this faux press release together at the end of July and wanted to beat SED to the punch--anticipating the delivery of its usual self-serving and vacuous announcement of the annual test results.  The attributions to Tisch and King are their own words taken from previous press releases or public statements.  (King's "patriotic endeavor" comes from remarks he made at a tribute to his uncle--currently posted on SED's web site.)

Please note that SED is expected to announce the 2014 results in a day or two, and the UFT has just issued its prediction. SED has had the results at its disposal for over a month.  Why the delay?

I want to make a mockery of the way SED manages/manipulates the news.  And I want to juice up the drumbeat for transparency and truth in testing.

Thank you.


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