New York State is going to lower the level students need to be classified as “proficient” on math and English tests.
The change, which will affect third through eighth grade students, comes in response to the reality that academic standards have dropped since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year, students in New York performed horribly compared to 2019. In Schenectady, not a single eighth grader was considered proficient in math.
The change lowers the proficiency threshold in tests, known as the “cut score,” to ensure that more students appear to be in good academic shape.
“Yes, there is learning loss between 2019 and 2022, but in some ways we don’t want to keep going backwards,” Perie told the Times Union. “We are in this new normal. So for New York we say the new baseline is 2022.”
New York State is going to lower the level students need to be classified as “proficient” on math and English tests
The change, which will affect third through eighth grade students, is in response to the reality that academic standards have plummeted since the Covid-19 pandemic
“They’re changing it because too many kids wouldn’t be considered ‘proficient’ because of the impact of the pandemic on academic learning,” Jasmine Gripper, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, told DailyMail.com.
Gripper said that not only does shifting the goalposts by lowering thresholds reduce the test’s credibility, it also perpetuates inequality between children and traps certain children in underperforming schools.
“By changing the lowered scores, we protect wealthy white communities from the high impact of state testing that black and brown communities have forever faced,” she said.
“There will still be kids at the bottom, and the kids who were traditionally at the bottom will stay at the bottom,” she said.
Gripper argued that the need to replace the bar exposes the flaws in the system and exposes the damage such tests can do.
“It really speaks to why state testing is problematic,” Gripper said. “We want tests that direct instruction. Instead, teachers are encouraged to learn on the test.”
She also explained that the change would have negative consequences that would not apply to wealthy communities.
Schools that underperform in the statewide tests may be placed under trusteeship – meaning certain schools may be closed and older teachers may be incentivized to leave for higher performing schools.
“Often these evaluations don’t improve learning, they just lead to labels that are hard to get out of,” Gripper said.
“The value of your home is determined by how well children do in local schools. It’s coddling, we always have and we always will,” she added.
Across the US, math scores saw their biggest drop ever due to the pandemic, and reading scores fell to levels not seen since the early 1990s
Much of the misery facing schools across the country is a result of the pandemic and how lockdowns impacted the way children were taught and exacerbated inequality.
“You think we had rampant inequality before the pandemic, and then there was a switch to distance learning, which exacerbated the inequality, depending on whether you had high-speed internet at home, you might not be able to fully participate,” Gripper said.
She says the three academic school years were greatly impacted by the response to Covid. The first year was hybrid, the next was almost completely remote, and the third went hybrid again. Only now are schools starting to get back on their feet.
In the summer, the committee will do the same for the U.S. History Regents Exam — the change will take effect in 2024.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress — also known as the nation’s report card — math scores in the U.S. fell at their most steepest on record as a result of the pandemic, and reading scores fell to levels not seen since the early 1990s. were seen.
The aggregated scores of hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders showed that nearly four in ten eighth graders did not understand basic math concepts.