August 15, 2013 1:48 pm

Learning from the New York Testing Fiasco

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Carol Burris and Jersey Jazzman Read Between the Bubbles

98When critics of Common Core tests raise concerns that too many students and schools will fail, we are told “Not to worry. The scores will rise. This is a criterion-referenced test.” Theoretically that means that, unlike a norm-referenced standardized tests, all the students could indeed achieve proficiency.

This week, Carol Burris, one of the leading principals in New Yorkexplained some hard facts about the terrible scores there. She started by wondering how it was that state officials there could predict with some accuracy the decline in scores. Her analysis goes on to explore how that crucial “cut score” was determined.

Jersey Jazzman, with his usual acumen, gives us a primer on criterion vs. norm referenced tests, and explains how the process used in New York has catastrophically mixed the two.

Here is Carol Burris’ reminder about what all this means:

“The scores on these tests are used by schools to make decisions about kids-to retain students, as screening devices for middle school and high school entrance, for entry into gifted or accelerated programs, and to decide which kids need remediation. They are part of a great sort and select machine within school systems.  We now know that the tests further increased the achievement gap, which will result in the shutting out of more students of color, of poverty and English Language Learners from desired schools and programs and the enrichment opportunities they need.”

Anthony Cody adds: “These tests are designed to produce the outcomes we are seeing. They are not good for children or other living things. Get them away from our children!”