The State Education Department released the latest grade 3-8 standardized test scores on Friday. They cautioned against using comparisons with previous years because the tests were different. That didn't stop Chancellor Carmen Farina from taking a victory lap along with UFT President Michael Mulgrew. The charter people claimed a huge win too.
Before they fall all over themselves saying how great the results are, they should have actually read this quote from Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa from the State Education Department's press release of the test scores: "While it's not possible to make direct comparisons of this year's results to past years, I'm cautiously optimistic the changes we're making will drive improvements in teaching and learning."
Further down in the State Education Department press release, it states the following:
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 test this year.
The State Ed Department then proceeds by making direct comparisons of the 2015 to the 2016 results. Go figure.
The opt out from testing movement did just fine this year. Here we can make reliable comparisons as people not taking last year's invalid test is the same as people not taking this year's invalid test. According to the State, 22% didn't take the test this year compared to 20% who were not tested in 2015. They called this 2% increase "relatively flat" compared to last year.
Don't you just love these people? Any gain in test scores is touted as a huge win, even when they admit the results are not comparable to last year, while the test refusal movement which continues to grow is called relatively flat. They don't mention the bogus propaganda the SED put out to tell people the tests were all improved so take them.
Here is how POLITICO New York reported on the opt-out numbers:
Despite the state's efforts to thwart the test opt-out movement, the number of refusals increased in the spring of 2016 over the previous year, with more than approximately 230,000 students opting out of the state standardized exams, according to data released Friday by the state education department.
Parent leaders from New York State Allies for Public Education were quoted in the POLITICO story:
"NYSAPE has been very clear from day one that tweaks and minor changes to current [state] assessments will not satisfy parents. Only substantial, meaningful, and comprehensive changes will have any impact on these opt out trends," Jeanette Deutermann, administrator of Long Island Opt Out and co-founder of NYSAPE, told POLITICO New York in an email.
"The standards need to be developmentally appropriate, tests must be shorter and not high stakes for school rankings," Lisa Rudley, a Westchester County parent who is a founding member of NYSAPE, told POLITICO New York in an email.
Since UFT President Michael Mulgrew is fully on board the testing bandwagon, New York City opt out rates are still very low but they did increase from 1.5% last year to 2.4% this year. Hey it's a start. NYC is basically the untapped reservoir for test refusal. Some UFT assistance could really help.