On tougher test, NY scores plunge

Reading and math scores dropped sharply in New York because the new Common Core-aligned tests are much harder.

In New York City, 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the state exams in English, and 30 percent passed in math, reports the New York Times. On last year’s easier test, 47 percent of city students passed in English, and 60 percent in math.

Statewide, 31 percent of students passed the exams in reading and math. Last year, 55 percent passed in reading, and 65 percent in math.

Achievement gaps are large: 16 percent of black students and 18 percent of Hispanic students passed English exams, compared with 40 percent of white students and 50 percent of Asians.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said higher standards will prepare students for college and the work force. “Too many school systems lied to children, families and communities,” Mr. Duncan said. “Finally, we are holding ourselves accountable as educators.”

It’s a conspiracy to make teachers look bad and sell more stuff, writes Carol Burris, an award-winning high school principal, on Answer Sheet.

Because of the Common Core, our youngest children are being asked to meet unrealistic expectations. New York’s model curriculum for first graders includes knowing the meaning of words that include “cuneiform,” “sarcophagus,” and “ziggurat.” . . .

If we are not careful, the development of social skills, the refinement of fine motor skills, and most importantly, the opportunity to celebrate the talents and experiences of every child will be squeezed out of the school day.

“There will be tremendous pressure to further narrow the curriculum and cut out all of the enrichment that can make young children smile with anticipation on Monday mornings,” Burris concludes.

New York State Stops Lying to Kids, and That’s a Good Thing, headlines RiShawn Biddle on Dropout Nation.

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Comments

  1. >>>Because of the Common Core, our youngest children are being asked to meet unrealistic expectations. New York’s model curriculum for first graders includes knowing the meaning of words that include “cuneiform,” “sarcophagus,” and “ziggurat.” . . .

    If we are not careful, the development of social skills, the refinement of fine motor skills, and most importantly, the opportunity to celebrate the talents and experiences of every child will be squeezed out of the school day.

    So…a high school principal thinks that a first grader won’t be able to have show-n-share if the child is expected to actually listen actively when the aide reads Mummies in the Morning (that’s Magic Tree House series) aloud? I ask then, how is the child going to learn sufficient vocab to continue? We know it is not going to come from being in the audience at show-n-share, unless it’s a diverse classroom and we ship in some older students for the top group to learn from.

  2. I’m surprised that 50% of the Asians failed. Did they roll out the new exams before the new material was actually covered in class? Did teachers ignore the new standards because they assumed there’s be no repercussions? Was the test really badly designed? Or did they just set ‘passing’ too low?

  3. Hmm, the author of the article was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year.

    I wonder if that means more or less then being named Teacher of the Year? It’s unlikely the honor’s conferred for running a school in which the students do exceptionally well. That would be too great an irony to bear considering Principal Burris’ stance on using test scores to measure professional skills.

    But look! She’s read Dickens! And quotes Dickens. She must be very smart!

    She’s certainly carved off a tough assignment for herself.

    Trying to convince parents, who now know they got a lousy education, to place the future of their children in the hands of the people responsible for that lousy education, is going to be one tough sell.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Test’s harder, scores drop. Sun rises in the east.
    I don’t get the news here.
    If you want to suggest that NYC schools are not sufficiently rigorous, fine. But that harder tests are harder to pass and score well on is supposed to be news…?