We would love to believe every word and memo that comes our state education department, but questionable past practices force parents, teachers, and taxpayers to remain skeptical.

Last year, NYSED declared they would not alter cut scores.  This was refreshing to hear, since New York State constantly changed the scores needed to pass (cut scores) on ELA and Math tests.  (Only AFTER the tests are graded, a score needed to pass is established and that score has never been the same since testing began.) NY’s cut scores for all the previous years resemble a roller coaster ride.  For example, in 2009 students only had to answer 53% of the questions to pass compared with the 87% needed to pass in 2010.  Here is the historical data since 2006:

NYS 3rd Grade Passing-page-001

Turns out, NYSED lied.  They did indeed adjust cut scores in 2013-14.  Former NYSED Commissioner John King forecasted ‘incremental’ increases August 2013 and he delivered ‘incremental’ increases August 2014.  This was achieved two ways:

1. They adjusted the cut scores- see for yourself:

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 9.42.25 PM

(Info provided by NY raw score to scale score and performance indicator chart here.)

2. They simply removed test questions.  Students took the test and answered the questions- NYSED simply decided (and without explanation) that some items would not count.  It is important to understand that these items go through a rigorous review process and are field tested at a great expense.  Fred Smith does a masterful job explaining which items NYSED left off.  The question that no one can answer is why???NYSED insists on keeping the technical report for the test that can answer these questions (the one our taxes already paid for) away from the public.  This report was due out in December and the test was a year ago.

As someone who made tests for Pearson, PARCC, and NYSED- I am at a loss.  NY parents, teachers, and taxpayers should be outraged.  The media has been so quick to accept that our children are failing the tests.  They never bothered to take a closer look- the tests, State Ed Dept, and corrupt politicians that are failing our children.

Lace to the Top