Scores plummet! That seems to be the defining narrative coming out of today’s New York test score release. For instance here’s Politico with some heavy breathing and he said/she said. Tim Daly does a nice job looking at why this isn’t a big surprise and what it all means, and doesn’t mean. The bottom line is that this was expected and is a natural result of transitioning to more ambitious standards. I’m suspicious of anywhere that makes this change and sees scores immediately go up. The popular talking point that this is what happens when you stop test prep and start teaching is nonsense. This is what happens when you raise the bar. The challenge now is to support teachers and make sure that there is an effective one in front of every class given how much more ambitious these standards are. This year is a baseline, the real story will in the data in future years.
Random odds and ends:
-If there is a soundtrack for today’s release it probably ought to be “Women Are Smarter.” Girls consistently outperformed boys on the English language arts test (results in math were more comparable).
-New York City didn’t fare well, no one did. But as a comparative matter the results are not wind in the sails of Mayor Bloomberg’s staunchest critics and don’t support a wholesale jettisoning of his efforts.
-NYC charter schools posted some relatively strong numbers overall – underneath performance is uneven. For instance, overall from the data appendix in math across grades 3-8 while 21 percent of students at charters in New York scored at levels 3 or 4, 34 percent of New York City charter students did (across the state’s traditional public schools 31 percent did). In ELA the results were not as strong (31 percent of all NY students at levels 3 and 4, 17 percent of charter students statewide, 24 percent of charter students in NYC) but the populations are not apples to apples. One outlier high is Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy.