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New York State constantly changes the score needed to pass on ELA and Math tests.  Only AFTER the tests are graded, a score needed to pass is established. All questions go through extensive field-testing before the tests go live.  The question remains why this practice is needed?  Perhaps it might have something to do with matching the NYSED Commissioner’s failure rate prediction given 4 months before the test was administered…

From 2006 to 2013 the score needed to pass went on a wild ride.  One year, a 63% was needed to pass.  In another year, students had to score 87% in order to pass.

In 2013, the score needed to pass the NYS ELA dropped to a record low 63%.  While we are not able to see the actual test, we were informed about the make-up of the test.  The 3rd grade practice set contained items that proved to be on readability levels above 8th grade:  http://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/ela-grade-3-sample-questions.pdf

The 3rd grade ELA also contained some of the same exact questions/passages as the 4th and 5th grade test.  NYSED called the items “calibration items”.  They were affectionately known as “dummy items” by everyone else: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/new-tests-dummy-questions-opt-out-policies-stress-parents-article-1.1318781

 What will the scores need to be in order to pass the 2014 ELA and Math tests?  That can only be answered by a few select members of the NYSED and will be done AFTER the test is graded.  They have already guaranteed scores will go up next year.    

 No matter what they decide, we know that our children are more than predetermined test scores. 


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