Thursday, August 14, 2014

NYSUT Double Switch Game Leads One Parent to State the proverbial WTF?

They did a big press op shredding the Pearson exams last week and today they say "The vast majority of questions do appear to be age- and developmentally appropriate."... NYC Parent.
Oh, you mean Karen Magee and cohorts did one thing on one day and the opposite on the next? I'm shocked, just shocked.

Oh, NYSUT, NYSUT Revivalists,
Is there no end to your perfidy?

Common Core tests rose significantly statewide this year in math and slightly in English under a new accounting system that does not include more than 50,000 youngsters who opted out of the tougher assessments, the state Department of Education reported Thursday.

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said in a news conference that the new system, which matches students' test performance in 2013 to those same students in 2014, was a better measure of academic growth than the system previously used. In prior years, the state simply reported the percentages of students tested who scored at various levels, ranging from highly proficient to substantially below proficient.
However, the new measurements appeared to confuse Long Island school officials, who scrambled to make sense of the figures. Some local educators said their preliminary reviews of data indicated that English scores generally were down across the bicounty region, where thousands of parents pulled children out of the tests administered in April and May.
The education department delayed release of local scores until the news conference ended at 3:30 p.m., and Newsday was still tabulating results at 4 p.m.
Statewide, under the new system, percentages of elementary and middle-school students passing math tests rose to 35.8 percent this year, from 31.2 percent last year, the department said. Passing rates in English inched up to 31.4 percent this year, from 31.3 percent last year.
Percentages of students who were "partly proficient" also increased statewide -- to 69.6 percent in math from 66.9 percent, and to 70 percent in English from 69 percent.
State education officials said the "partly proficient" figures were important, because they represented students who would have been considered passing before 2013, when the more rigorous requirements were put in place.
Common Core testing, which began in the spring of 2013 with a push from federal authorities, has generated widespread protests on the Island, both from parents who dislike the extra pressure on their children, and from teachers opposed to a new job-evaluation system linked to their students' test performance.
Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the state's Board of Regents, voiced hope Thursday that changes in the state's testing system recently enacted by her board would ultimately reduce public opposition to Common Core testing and related initiatives. The Regents set statewide education policies.
"We hope that the temperatures come down, and that the rhetoric of politics, all the outside noise, comes down as these changes take effect," Tisch said.
Many school leaders on the Island continued to express doubt about the state's push for Common Core standards, saying that a flawed and hasty rollout in 2013 had led to resistance among parents and teachers that would not quickly disappear.
"I'm expecting another frustrating year," said Roberta Gerold, superintendent of the Middle Country school district and president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association.
Some local administrators were more optimistic.
"We're still a couple years away from being satisfied, but I believe we're making good progress," said Charles Russo, the East Moriches schools chief, who has been an outspoken proponent of Common Core.
The National Governors Association, chief sponsor of Common Core standards, lists 48 states as having been involved in the project aimed at boosting academic performance to better compete with schools in other countries. A number of states, including Indiana, Georgia and South Dakota, recently have pulled back on efforts to put the standards into effect.
Alarms sounded across New York State at this time last year, when the education department released initial results from its new Common Core tests. The number of students passing on Long Island and statewide plunged more than 40 percent, due to more rigorous test questions and also higher cutoff scores.
The lower passing percentages -- 31 percent in math and 31.1 percent in English statewide, as counted under the state's former measurement system -- were similar to those in a stringent federal testing program called the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
In the months that followed, New York State officials, including King and Tisch, faced hostile audiences of parents and teachers at a series of public forums in Manorville, Setauket and other communities, as they tried to defend their new academic policies.
Resistance continued this spring, as growing numbers of parents pulled their children out of the latest round of state testing. Nearly 9,500 elementary and middle-school students on Long Island refused to take English tests, and more than 10,700 skipped math tests, according to figures provided Newsday by more than half of the region's school districts.
Under growing political pressure, the state has begun pulling back in some key policy areas, while leaving its basic Common Core program in place.
In February, for example, the state's Board of Regents agreed to wait until 2022 to raise passing scores on high school exams to 75 in English and 80 in algebra. Current passing marks are 65.
In June, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers approved a two-year delay in state rules authorizing the firing of teachers rated "ineffective" due to students' poor performance on Common Core tests. Under the rules change, teachers can still be fired on the basis of other factors, such as poor classroom evaluations by their principals.
Even some of the state's sternest critics acknowledge that there are academic strengths in the Common Core academic standards, and also in the new test questions and curriculum guides reflecting those standards. Forty such guides, known as "modules," covering grades 3 to 8, are now posted on the state's EngageNY website, along with guides for other grades.
Reviews were largely positive earlier this month, when the education department released 50 percent of questions appearing on tests administered in April and May. That was double the percentage of questions made public last year.
"The vast majority of questions do appear to be age- and developmentally appropriate," said Carl Korn, spokesman for New York State United Teachers, the state's biggest education union.
The group has been outspoken against other aspects of the Common Core system, particularly job evaluations of teachers based largely on students' test performance.
Korn reiterated his group's call for release of all test questions, saying this was the only way the public could be certain of overall quality. Education department staffers have said that their limited testing budget makes full release impractical, due to the need to maintain a secure pool of questions for future administrations.

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