I enjoyed seeing you accustomed as a hero of apprenticeship by FairTest aftermost week, which accustomed an anniversary accolade called for you. If anyone had told me bristles years ago that I would be at that event, I would accept anticipation them mad. This is what “Bridging Differences” has done for me, I suppose.
At the event, I was surrounded, not surprisingly, by educators who accept continued believed that connected tests are added amiss than right, or that they are a abomination adjoin children’s nature, or worse. I abide to accept that we can get admired advice from connected tests and that they can advice with diagnosing problems and needs. The advice acquired from testing can be useful, but afresh I accept amorphous to see how generally assay array are actuality aished to abuse kids, teachers, and schools and to mislead the public.
As it happened, New York accompaniment aloof arise the after-effects of its anniversary tests of English accent arts and mathematics, and the array soared beyond the accompaniment to an admeasurement that was actually unbelievable.
The accompaniment Apprenticeship Department arise the algebraic array aftermost week. From 2006, back the accepted testing regime’s trend band begins, to today, the allotment of kids affair accompaniment standards (that is, scoring a 3 or 4 on a four-level accomplishment scale) has gone from 65.8 percent to 86.4 percent. In 8th grade, the admeasurement affair or beyond standards leapt from 54 percent to 80 percent. The assets for atramentous and Hispanic acceptance beyond the accompaniment were huge—for atramentous students, from 45 percent to 75 percent, and for Hispanic students, from 51 percent to 79 percent. White and Asian acceptance are already aing to the ceiling, at 92 percent and 95 percent respectively.
Some districts saw increases that baffle anyone’s wildest dreams: In Buffalo, the admeasurement casual flew up from 28.6 percent to 63.3 percent; in Roer, it went from 33.1 percent to 63.4 percent; in New York City, from 57 percent to 82 percent; and Syracuse about angled from 30 percent to 58 percent. All in four abbreviate years! At this rate, anybody will be accomplished able-bodied afore NCLB’s borderline of 2014.
The account media arise the affecting assets with a beeline face. The admiral of Roer and Buffalo basked in the limelight. Mayor Bloomberg said the array accepted the amount of his one-man ascendancy of New York City’s schools, although absolutely his administration had annihilation to do with the alike beyond assets in added cities in the state. Alone the Roer bi-weekly asked in an exhausted whether these assets fabricated any sense.
Now the New York Daily Account has done an assay of the algebraic tests and assured that the accompaniment tests got progressively easier from 2006 to 2009. Kudos to reporters Meredith Kolodner and Rachel Monahan, who exhausted The New York Times to this statistical scandal. Kolodner and Monahan had the accuracy to about-face to Jennifer Jennings of Columbia University, who was aforetime the blogger for Apprenticeship Anniversary accepted as eduwonkette; Jennings yzed the tests and apparent that the accompaniment has been testing alone a atom of its algebraic standards, and agents are able to adumbrate which standards will arise on the tests.
Jennings additionally begin that about identical questions accept appeared every year. “In 2009, at atomic 14 of the 30 multiple-choice questions on the seventh-grade exam, for example, had appeared in agnate anatomy in antecedent years,” said Jennings. Agents and principals chimed in and agreed that the questions were anticipated and acceptance are demography common convenance tests that advise them the format.
A abecedary explained to me afresh that “we assignment bottomward into the accompaniment assay to adumbrate what will be tested,” and afresh acceptance convenance those questions, afresh and again.
My assumption is that if the acceptance in New York accompaniment were accustomed a algebraic assay from addition state—one that they had not been a for—their array would be abundant lower.
U.S. Secretary of Apprenticeship Arne Duncan keeps cogent states and districts that they are “lying” to kids back they acquaint them that they are accomplishing aloof fine, but they absolutely are not. Aloof aftermost week, Duncan said that abounding states are “lying to accouchement and their parents, because states accept dumbed bottomward their standards.” New York is a absolute archetype of what Duncan means. The admeasurement of acceptance who canyon the tests keeps activity college and college every year, but back the 2007 NAEP array were released, the accompaniment had collapsed array in aggregate but 4th brand math.
What we see in New York accompaniment is institutionalized lying, according to Secretary Duncan’s definition. The accompaniment is able-bodied on its way to acceptable a civic laughingstock if it keeps up this Ponzi arrangement whose victims are its students.
Mark Twain wrote, “Figures generally betray me, decidedly back I accept the alignment of them myself; in which case the acknowledgment attributed to Disraeli would generally administer with amends and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, accursed lies, and statistics.'”
The New York Accompaniment Apprenticeship Department is assuming how accessible it is to lie with numbers.
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