“They produced a defective product, and don’t want you to know about it,” said Fred Smith, a former city test analyst who discovered the missing items... The alterations suggest serious flaws in the high-stakes tests, which Gov. Cuomo wants to rely on more heavily to rate students, teachers and schools, said Smith, who published his findings last week in City Limits magazine... NY Posthttp://nypost.com/2015/03/22/
Fred, a stalwart Change the Stakes core member followed up with this:
We must use SED's dishonesty to support the following:NY Post piece below.
- An independent investigation of the NYS Testing Program and the SED/Pearson relationship.
- A sufficient reason for parents to opt their children out of the April exams and for teachers to actively encourage them. And leverage for MORE to use against the UFT's double games.
- The implementation of better assessment alternatives as a replacement for the current useless year-to-year abominations.
- The ouster of Ken Wagner, SED's chief stonewaller, and the above-it-all Chancellor Tisch.
- A demand for transparency and revision of the NYS Truth-in-Testing Law.
- Pressure on the Regents and politicians to do what's necessary and in their self-interest by supporting this agenda. Better late than never.
Student performance on four questions on the much-ballyhooed state English Language Arts exams was secretly scrubbed by state education officials because too many students didn’t answer them or were confused by them.
After the tests were given last April 1-3, the state decided to eliminate the results of one multiple-choice question on the seventh-grade ELA exam, two on the third-grade ELA exam, and a four-point essay on the third-grade test.
Six of 55 points were whacked from the third-grade test.
The axed essay question, called a “constructive response,” aimed to gauge a prime goal of the Common Core standards — whether students think critically and write cohesively, citing evidence from a text to support their ideas.
“They produced a defective product, and don’t want you to know about it,” said Fred Smith, a former city test analyst who discovered the missing items.
In touting an uptick in scores last August, the state didn’t mention the erased results. The number of city kids rated “proficient” increased 2.9 percent from 2013 on the third-grade ELA test and 3.9 percent on the seventh-grade test.
The alterations suggest serious flaws in the high-stakes tests, which Gov. Cuomo wants to rely on more heavily to rate students, teachers and schools, said Smith, who published his findings last week in City Limits magazine.
The statewide English and math exams for grades 3 to 8 were developed by Pearson Inc. under $33 million in contracts.
The state dropped the scoring of multiple-choice questions No. 29 and No. 30, about an article on maple syrup, at the end of the third-grade test’s first day. It also dropped an essay on a story about a farm girl’s bread recipe at the end of the third day.
Those scores were killed because 5 to 6 percent of all students “did not respond,” officials told The Post, meaning they left the answers blank.
That high “omit rate” is unprecedented in New York, Smith said.
On the seventh-grade exam, the state dropped multiple-choice question No. 8 because it lacked “one clear correct answer,” even though the item was approved after Pearson tried it out on kids in field tests, officials said.
Other experts agreed the non-scored items could skew the results.
“Whether you finish the test is an indicator of what you know and how fast you work,” said James Corter, a professor of statistics and education at Teachers College.
“Students who worked fast and completed the essay, but got some early questions wrong could be put at a disadvantage,” Corter said. “Kids who worked more slowly and carefully, getting early questions right but not even reaching the essay, would enjoy an edge.”
“This calls into question the accuracy and fairness of any decision based on test scores, when bureaucrats can manipulate the results by deciding which questions count or not,” said Bob Schaeffer, public education director of testing watchdog FairTest.
The Post revealed last August that the state lowered the number of right answers needed to pass half the exams, including the third- and seventh-grade ELA — also after the tests were taken.
At the time, Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said a report explaining how the test was scored would be released last December or January, but officials said last week it is “still being reviewed.”