Over the last few years, student performance has soared on math and English tests across New York State, with the most dramatic improvements evident in urban districts such as Buffalo, leading many to celebrate the progress.
But now, state education officials say the progress may not have been quite what it seemed.
Weaknesses in the state’s testing and scoring systems over the last several years created what Education Commissioner David M. Steiner equates to systemic “grade inflation.”
- Students who score at the “proficient” level in middle school math, for instance, stand only a 1-in-3 chance of doing well enough in high school to succeed in college math, he said.
- Students begin getting “inflated” test scores before they hit high school, state officials said. A student who scores a 3 on a state math test — which is considered “proficient” on the scale of 1 to 4 — stands only a 30 percent chance of getting an 80 on the high school Regents math exam, they said.
- ...a student who scored at the proficient level on a state test in 2006 was in the 45th percentile on the national test, meaning that 55 percent of students in the country scored better. In 2009, the same score on the state test would land a student in the 20th percentile on the national test, meaning that 80 percent of students nationwide scored better.
The state Education Department recently asked a group of experts, led by Harvard University’s Daniel M. Koretz, to determine how closely eighth-grade scores correlate to high school Regents exam scores — and how well those Regents exam scores correlate to success in college.
Flawed tests distort sharp rise in scores by students
By Mary B. Pasciak
Updated: July 06, 2010, 11:42 pm / 19 comments
Published: July 07, 2010, 6:35 am