If you haven't yet done so, get over to the NYC Parents Blog and closely read Class Size Matters Director Leonie Haimson's full blown criticism of the city and state boasting about increases in state test scores.
Leonie titles her piece, "Evidence grows we are entering a new era of mass delusion and test score inflation - including cut score manipulation."
She destroys the so called increase in state test scores. Here is some of her evidence:
Yet as we see NYC did not match the State scores on the NAEPs, in 2013 or 2015, in any subject. This creates even more doubt on the reliability of the state metrics and provides evidence that we have entered a new era of test score inflation.
Yet another reason to doubt ANY comparisons between city and state scores or proficiency rates is that 95% of the state's districts had more than 5% opt out rates -- and the 95% participation rate is supposedly required for accurate conclusions. Meanwhile, NYC's opt out rate remained relatively low at 2.4% -- which makes any comparisons between NYC and the rest of the state even more questionable.
But perhaps the smoking gun is this: the state cut scores much lower this year, with far lower raw scores translated into higher scale scores which were then equated with higher Proficiency levels, meaning Level 3 or above.
Here is Leonie's conclusion:
So yet again, we have a Mayor using these unreliable and possibly invalid test results to "prove" that Mayoral control works and using it for his political advantage. Again, we have a State Commissioner who says the results show that the state's educational "reforms" are leading to more learning. Again the NYC Chancellor and UFT president are drinking the koolaid, to justify their preferred policies. This time, in addition, the charter schools are also touting the results to "prove" their superiority. Will we have to wait years until a new commissioner until the state admits the truth, as we did last time when Rick Mills was replaced by David Steiner?
For those interested in UFT President Michael Mulgrew's response to the test results, here is his statement in its entirety
I want to thank the teachers, students and parents for all their hard work. With a common sense approach to education, we are seeing results. We know test scores are just one indicator of all the great work going on in our public schools. There is still more to do, but we are moving in the right direction.
For more union spin, read this UFT article touting the test results. Around paragraph 14, after comparing results from last year to this year, the UFT spin-doctor finally admits, "The 2016 assessments were shorter this year and students productively working were allowed to complete their exams without time constraints. (State Commissioner Mary Ellen) Elia said those changes made an 'apples-to-apples' comparison with previous years impossible."
Who would you rather have speaking for you: Leonie Haimson or the UFT?