July 28, 2010

Grade 3-8 test results reflect scoring changes

Source: NYSUT News Wire

Update: July 28

The State Education Department released results of the 2010 grade 3-8 Math and English tests today.

As reported earlier, the "cut scores" for these tests were set to the newly enacted proficiency standards.

From the State Ed press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. July 28, 2010.

Grade 3-8 Math and English Test Results Released: Cut Scores Set to New College-Ready Proficiency Standards

Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner David Steiner today released results from the state's 2010 Grade 3-8 assessments in Math and English. Cut scores for these tests were set according to new Proficiency standards redefined to align them with college-ready performance. The new Proficiency standards are based on a review of research that analyzed how the grade 3-8 state tests relate to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam; how the state's eighth grade Math and English tests relate to the Regents exams; how performance on the Regents exams relates to SAT scores; and how performance on the Regents exams relates to first-year performance in college.

As a result of raising the bar for what it means to be proficient, many fewer students met or exceeded the new Mathematics and English Proficiency standards in 2010 than in previous years. Across Grades 3-8 statewide, the majority of students, 53% in English and 61% in Math, met or exceeded the new Proficiency standards this year. By contrast, in 2009, 77% of students met or exceeded standards in English and 86% of students did so in Math.

The complete release is available online.

Video of the press conference and test data are also available.


July 20

About the Scoring Changes

The Board of Regents has endorsed Commissioner David M. Steiner's proposal to adjust the "cut scores" on the state's grade 3-8 math and English assessments. School, district, and statewide results from these tests are scheduled to be released during the week of July 26.

NYSUT's View

"Our union has always supported high academic standards and we have long called for greater transparency in how the state tests are designed and cut scores are set," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "We welcome the transparency and we're hoping that once the system is recalibrated, greater support will be provided for both students and teachers."

It is fair to say there are diverse opinions among teachers about the state’s grade 3-8 testing program.

The public must understand that as State Ed corrects its errors and recalibrates the testing system, it is very likely that thousands of more students will be identified as needing academic intervention services, Neira said.

At the same time, this year’s state budget cuts $1.4 billion from education, and school districts have laid off thousands of teachers and paraprofessionals across the state. Districts must ensure that support services are there for those students who are identified as needing additional help because of the recalibration of scores.

Acknowledging that raising the cut scores will mean that thousands more students will not meet proficiency level, the Regents approved amendments that will relax mandates on required AIS services for the coming school year. In addition, the Regents agreed to seek a federal waiver during this transition year so the greater number of students scoring at Levels 1 and 2 do not impact the ability of schools and districts to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Neira said the federal waiver is important to ensure that schools are not unfairly labeled a school in need of improvement and are given time to adjust to the new cut scores.