Friday, August 05, 2016
Comparing Apples And Oranges - The New York State Common Core Tests Of 2016.
With great fanfare our inept Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and our disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina, hailed the academic improvement of the New York City students. What was left unsaid was that the 2016 tests were radically different from the previous years. The 2016 tests were shorter, with less questions, and more importantly, there was no time limit. Furthermore, because of the large "opt out" numbers in the higher achieving middle class suburbs the cut scores are lower. NYSED commissioner, Maryellen Elia even stated that this year's test was "not an apples to apples comparison" as she told the New York Post. Furthermore, the esteemed CUNY education professor, David Bloomfield said the following. "The increases are illusory.”
Unfortunately, real academic achievement has not been demonstrated by the badly flawed and manipulated high-stakes State tests. In fact the NAEP national test, the gold standard, has not shown any improvement in student academic achievement since 2013. Therefore, the 2016 State tests are probably invalid as a meaningful measurement to show real academic gains. Read the NYC Parents Blog for a clearer and more complete analysis of the State test flaws.
Let me give you a real world example, if you were a chess player and played chess with and without a clock which game would you fare better in? The game without a clock of course since there is no time pressure to contend with.. The same goes for the State tests, the students are bound to do better without the pressure of a time limit. Moreover, the fewer questions also contributes to higher student achievement, especially when the State once again lowered the "cut scores". Finally, teachers were given more test preparation materials and were better able to concentrate their test preparation instruction. This is especially true in the charter schools where the majority of the day is concentrated on the English and Math test preparation. Therefore, it's little surprise that the charter schools had relatively large increases in the badly flawed State tests.
The bottom line is that the NYS high-stakes Common Core tests are badly flawed, manipulated to meet certain political goals, and are geared to test preparation rather than real learning. Consequently, these State tests and have no validity when it comes to real academic achievement.