New York Regents Spin, Spin, Spin.
Today , New York State Education Department Released their Spring 2016 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Assessment Results. As we all know, when a public entity releases anything on a Friday afternoon, it deserves a little extra scrutiny. There is a reason they released it late today, they hoped to get away with a scam PR stunt.
Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said in this press release,
“… it’s not possible to make direct comparisons of this year’s results to past years…”.
Yet, that’s exactly what they do in this release even though the press release states,
“While the content of the 2016 tests and last year’s tests are comparable and similarly rigorous, it is not possible to make direct comparisons of the 2016 results to prior years’ results because of changes to the tests this year. The 2016 results are valid and reliable indicators of student proficiency in the tested grades and subjects.”
Chart after chart goes on to compare test scores with percentage increases in each category. So what should we believe, their words or their charts?
NYSED goes on to make baseless assumptions about the students who refused the tests. Someone please explain this assumption:
Historically, SED only tracked the number of students not tested for an invalid, unknown reason. These students are categorized as “not tested” students.
What is an invalid unknown reason? It may be unknown to NYSED but does that make it invalid?
Their most egregious assumption is to state that they know what those who refused the test would have scored.
In addition, the 2016 test refusal students were much more likely to be from low-need or average-need districts; more likely to have scored at Level 1 and Level 2 in 2015 if they took the tests; less likely to be economically disadvantaged; less likely to be a student with a disability; and much less likely to be English Language Learners.
NYSED would be wise to listen to Joe Friday, ” Just the facts ma’am, just the facts please.
Here are some real facts..
- Teachers are being forced to teach to the test
- The arts are taking a back seat to test prep
- More students are opting out
- The data in invalid
- State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia’s listening tour, was all about parents listening to her.
- More resources are being diverted towards test prep
- 9 1/2 hours of testing is abusive to all students
- Children are becoming increasingly stressed about test score
- The tests measure NOTHING!
So my message to the Board of Regents:
Cut the spin, deal with the real issues, pass a permanent end to these tests, and develop real standards with teachers that honor the diversity of our state.