Sunday, August 7, 2016

YATS: Yet Another Test Scandal Brewing in NYCDOE and New State Ed Dept. Plus disparaging opt-out

Following the Chancellor Farina's press conference, a journalist wrote me, "Twilight zone. ...Collective self-delusion with the kids used as political chess pieces." It appears we are living through Groundhog's Day, over and over again.  As the well-known saying goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."... Leonie Haimson,
Leonie has been on the case so there is not much to add here except that the UFT wants to live in the test bubble too. And then there is the charter bullshit of claiming their scores are better -- sure - they mark their own  stuff, pick their students and do who knows what else?

And despite the attacks on the opt-out movement by NY State Ed, Farina and DOE and the UFT, the movement still grew, even in NYC. I read a quote from NYSAPE's Lisa Rudley about how they disparage the slight rise in opt out while bragging about the same slight "rise" in test scores, if even you can call that a rise considering the shenanigans.

Read the NYSAPE press release:

And Arthur's take: NYC Educator NY Test Scores---Chalkbeat Chugs the Cherry Kool Aid

Here are some of Leonie's posts on the issue:

Monday, August 1, 2016

Despite NYSED & Gates-funded efforts, Opt out grows across the state; impossible to claim growth in achievement

Thursday, August 4, 2016
Evidence grows we are entering a new era of mass delusion and test score inflation- including cut score manipulation
Update 8/5/16: Be sure to also check out today's blog post on this issue, including links to Daily News and NY Post articles and today's NYSAPE press release.

And I'm reposting her entire piece here - with more to come. 

Friday, August 5, 2016: Update on growing evidence of state test score inflation

See articles in the  NY Daily News and NY Post about the drops in the raw scores on the NYS exams needed for proficiency.

NYSAPE just released its analysis which is somewhat clearer than mine here:  Link to Press Release

Diane Ravitch posted her succinct summary here and concludes, “These are serious charges. It is now the responsibility of Commissioner Elia, the Board of Regents, and the State Education Department to demonstrate the validity and integrity of the tests.”
In a comment on my blog, Andrea Gabor points out that comparing the test results last year to this is like comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges.

Meanwhile, Chalkbeat attributes the (highly dubious) gains at least in part to the expansion of charter schools and the Common Core – no doubt Bill Gates’ favorite theory as well.  (Be sure to read the comment about Success charters below the piece.)

Then check out the significant difference between the NYSED  discussion in 2015 and 2016 of equating raw scores to different proficiency levels:

Q3: Why did the raw scores change?

A:The raw scores that map to each of the scale score cut scores change almost on a yearly basis. See the "Raw Score to Scale Score Conversion Charts" at These charts are available back to 2006.

Q4: How did the raw scores change in 2015?

A:On the 2015 tests, year-to-year raw score change is for Level 3 were small and varied by grade.
Raw scores went down slightly on 5 tests (indicating slightly harder tests in 2015 compared to 2014 for Grade 6 ELA and Grades 4, 5, 6, and 7 Math) and went slightly up on 5 tests (indicating slightly
easier tests in 2015 compared to 2014 for Grades 3, 5, and 7 ELA and Grades 3 and 8 math). Raw scores stayed the same on two tests (Grades 4 and 8 ELA)

Q3: Why did the raw scores change?

A:The raw scores that map to each of the scale score cut scores often change with each subsequent test administration. See the "Raw Score to Scale Score Conversion Charts" at
The number of raw points necessary to achieve each performance level change due to several factors. These factors include equating and changes in number of raw points available on each test. For instance, the total number raw scores for ELA and Mathematics went down this year in all grades due to the shortening of the tests (i.e., removal of one reading passage and items).

That was it.  No Q4  this year because unlike past years,  they couldn’t say in five tests the raw scores went up, five down etc.  Instead they would have to admit  that in 11 out of 12 exams, not only the total raw scores but the PERCENT of raw score points out of the total possible points fell for proficiency.

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