Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

July 28, 2010

New York Test Scores Show Dismal Performance Across State

Filed under: Achievement Gap,Education Policy — millerlf @ 9:48 pm

New York Students Are Struggling, New Test Scores Show

By JENNIFER MEDINA
New York State education officials, admitting that the state’s annual tests were not properly measuring student proficiency, released results Wednesday showing that more than half of New York City students were failing to meet state standards in reading, at a time when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg boasted that more that more than two-thirds of city’s students were reading at grade level.
After researchers concluded that the state exams had steadily become easier to pass, state officials said last week that they would recalibrate the way the tests were graded, warning educators to brace themselves for a harsh wake-up call. Indeed, the scores released Wednesday show dismal performance across the state, after years of significant gains at every level statewide. This year, only 61 percent of students were deemed to be at grade level in math, compared with 86 last year. Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the state’s Education Department, said that she encouraged teachers and parents to greet the news “not with disappointment and not with anger.”
“Now that we are facing the hard truth that not all of the gains were as advertised, we have to take a look at what we can do differently,” she said. “These results will finally provide real unimpeachable evidence about to be used for accountability.” New York City officials said that if the passing rates since 2006 were adjusted to match the new scoring standards, the city had shown substantial progress over all. But that explanation is likely to offer little consolation to teachers and parents who must now face the reality that just more than half of city students in the third through eighth grades are proficient in math, not four out of every five, as they were led to believe last year.
The numbers suggest that thousands more city students should have been held back or required to attend summer school last year. The Bloomberg administration requires every student who scores a Level 1, the lowest possible level on the state exam, to attend summer school and later pass the test or repeat the grade the following year.
But perhaps even more significant is that the state’s readjustment of the scores exposes the score inflation and could raise new questions about the imprecision of educational testing, even as policy makers across the country, including President Obama, are relying on such measurements to determine teacher pay and whether or not a school should be shut down. In New York City, the scores on the state tests have been used to assign A through F grades to each school, as well as thousands of dollars in principal and teacher bonuses.
While the test scores paint a bleak portrait in New York City, urban districts upstate fared even worse. In Rochester, just 25 percent of all students were proficient in reading, compared with 43 percent last year

September 13, 2009

Chicago Schools Data Under Arne Duncan

Filed under: Achievement Gap,MPS Governance Debate — millerlf @ 3:18 pm

(The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test is administered by the Department of Education.)

The NAEP records show that CPS student performance was very poor in 2002 and did not improve by 2007. On the NAEP reading test, scored from 0-500, Chicago 8th graders got an average score of 249 in 2002. In 2007, they got an average score of 250. The nationwide average in 2007, by contrast, was 261.

In 2002, 15 percent of all Chicago 8th graders were judged “proficient” at reading. In 2007, that number had increased by all of two percent — 17 percent of all Chicago 8th graders were judged proficient. Nationally, for 2007, 29 percent of all 8th graders were deemed proficient at reading.

Chicago 4th graders not only fare worse than the national average in reading – they do worse than other urban school districts. In 2002, Chicago 4th graders scored an average of 193. In 2007, the average did jump to 201. But this score was not just significantly lower than the national average but the average among the 11 assessed urban districts, which was 208. The percentage of Chicago 4th graders who scored at the proficient level in 2007 was 16 percent compared with 22 percent in other urban districts. Only Cleveland and Washington, D.C. did worse. Moreover, the gap in scores between poor students – defined as those eligible for the federal school lunch program – and the rest of the district actually increased between 2002 and 2007.

NAEP Math tests were another area where Chicago students fared poorly. Fourth grade math scores made the modest jump from 214 to 220 between 2003 and 2007. But just 16 percent of CPS 4th graders were judged proficient in Math compared with 28 percent in other urban schools districts and 38 percent nationally. The story is the same for 8th graders: scores made a modest climb from 254 to 260 between 2003 and 2007. But in 2007, 13 percent of CPS fourth graders were proficient compared with 22 percent in other urban school districts and 31 percent nationally.

August 30, 2009

Barrett’s Data Questionable

Filed under: Achievement Gap — millerlf @ 7:35 pm

The only data Mayor Barrett could give us in his op-ed today arguing for mayoral takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools had to do with supposed improvements in the achievement gap in New York Public Schools. The problem is that most of that data has been negated by federal government assessments and the National Assessment of Education Progress. Following is a column from Juan Gonzalez, a writer for the New York Daily News, that sheds light on the New York achievement gap data:

See sidebar “Juan Gonzales on New York Data.”

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