Cored! New York’s First Common Core Score Results

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.

12 thoughts on “Cored! New York’s First Common Core Score Results

  1. Catlike1

    Actually, this is not just a function of raising the bar… As Harvard professor Dan Koretz has well documented, these dips happen every time you adopt a new test. Changes in question format and/or relative emphasis place on various standards/content lead to lower scores. As students become more familiar with the new test format, and teachers get more familiar with what portions of the content domain are emphasized in the new test and adjust instruction accordingly, scores head up. Then, when a new test is adopted again, scores dip again.
    In this particular case, the combined changing of the test and raising of the bar made the dip larger. But policymakers need to take seriously the fact that some gains in test scores do not reflect true improvement in student learning or school performance, but rather the predictable results of the process Koretz identified. We need to always remember that standardized tests are important (but very imperfect) proxies for mastery of a much larger domain of knowledge. Tests make large inferences on the basis of very small sampling of student knowledge and skill.

  2. PhillipMarlowe

    Daly:
    Fourth, the new tests are better, not simply more difficult.
    Well, well, Tim actually read the testsl Test security violations.
    Such idiocy is to be expected from the man who still believes Michelle Rhee took her kids from the 13th percentile to the 90th.
    Josh,
    that is what happens when you cream.

  3. jeffrey miller

    “-If there is a soundtrack for today’s release it probably ought to be “Women Are Smarter.”

    No, it should not be the soundtrack. First, women and girls are categorically different. Second, up to what age? Third and most egregiously, “smarter” carries a lot of baggage.

  4. Kelly

    I think it should have been expected for the first common core test scores to be low, as they will serve as a baseline and should show growth in the future. It’s difficult to tell if people are upset with the tests or with teachers. Will teaching differently in relation to the new test be better teaching or just teaching to a different test? If the test is better/harder, will it make teaching better?

  5. Deidre

    I believe that it should have been expected, too. This was completely new to teachers and students. I agree with Kelly.. these are baselines and will how growth in future testing.

  6. Eric Fry

    The tests are based on cumulative skills and knowledge. Students in higher grades won’t do well on these tests until they’ve gone through years of instruction under the new standards.

  7. PhillipMarlowe

    The Moskowitz Hijack:

    From: donotreply@successacademies.org
    Date: Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM
    Subject: Message from Eva Moskowitz: Parent March October 8
    To:
    Dear Parents,
    Your child’s education is threatened. Our very existence is threatened. Opponents want to take away our funding and our facilities. These attacks are a real danger — we cannot stand idly by.
    This is an outrage: There are hundreds of empty classrooms all across New York City, and more than 1,000 district schools share space without a complaint. Yet our opponents want to penalize our success — and are proposing legislation to do so.
    These issues are tremendously important. If we lose ground – literally, if we lose access to public space – we cannot fulfill our commitment to you and your scholar.
    Which is why you – you and your scholar, your friends and relatives – must join us on Tuesday, October 8 to march with other charter parents across the Brooklyn Bridge.
    What: Parent March across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of charter schools and parent choice!
    When: Tuesday, October 8, 7:30am-11:00am. Buses will pick you and your scholar up from school at morning arrival, and you will be dropped off at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn. We will delay the start of school until after the march.
    Where: The march will start in Cadman Plaza, go across the Brooklyn Bridge, and end in City Hall Park (Downtown Manhattan). All families will then take a subway back to school after the march to drop off scholars for the rest of the school day.
    Don’t let opponents of ed reform steal your children’s future. This is about your child, your choice. Your voice must be heard. We must show public officials that parents will fight for the right to choose excellent schools.
    Warmly,
    Eva
    ___
    Eva Moskowitz
    Founder and CEO
    Success Academy Charter Schools

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