More testing scares

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Another shock wave is likely to spread through the Rochester school district tomorrow when the New York State Education Department releases the scores from the new, more rigorous Common Core curriculum.

While some educators are saying that the test scores are not going to be good, others are putting it more bluntly, saying that the scores will plummet. And they’re trying to figure out how to present the news to the public.

We’re not talking about just the city school district’s test scores, either. Even State Education Commissioner John King is saying that test scores across the state will likely fall.

The scores are going to be particularly upsetting to students, parents, and teachers who are likely to have the impression that their proficiency is much better than the state says it is.

The tests were controversial when they were administered earlier this year, with many parents refusing to allow their children to be tested. The results are supposed to serve as a benchmark for the Common Core curriculum as its implementation moves forward throughout the state. SED officials wanted to determine proficiency levels in reading and math.

But the biggest controversy has to do with the state aligning proficiency standards with those set by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Critics, and there are many, point out that the NAEP standards are not based on international standards. They are based on something called the “Angoff method,” which involves standards set by a panel of people from many disciplines who have determined what third and eighth graders should know.

According to a blog post by education researcher Diane Ravitch, there’s no scientific evidence that supports those standards.


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