"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, June 17, 2006

8,900 Left Behind

New state tests mandated under NCLB and a change in the exam schedule have New York City officials scrambling to explain a drop in test scores that could make them look bad. While these "education officials" argue over test results, 8,900 fifth graders are about to be branded failures because of the stupidity and hubris of know-nothing politicians who refuse to recognize the sham of high stakes testing. As the adults argue over explanations for the poor test results, these kids will be scarred forever by a system that continues to leave them behind.

What a mess.
More at Risk of Repeating Fifth Grade
Published: June 17, 2006

More than 8,900 New York City fifth graders are in danger of being held back because of failing scores on annual reading and math tests, city education officials said yesterday. That contrasts sharply with last year when a big rise in scores led Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to say that his effort to end social promotion had improved student achievement.

City third graders posted better results with the number in danger of repeating the grade declining for a third year in a row. And there were gains among seventh graders, who were subject to the mayor's promotion policies for the first time this year.

Students who fail to make the cut on the annual exams are urged to attend summer school. They must retake the exams in August, and if they fail again, they must repeat the grade.

While the results were mixed, it was the fifth grade numbers that drew attention because the most stellar increases on city exams last year were in that grade.

In interviews, city education officials offered many explanations for the poorer fifth grade results, which saw the number failing to earn promotion rise to 8,921, or 15.2 percent of students subject to the mayor's promotion rules, from 5,450 students, or 8.6 percent last year.

The officials said that new state tests were used this year in place of citywide exams and that the tests were given in the winter instead of the spring. The changes, they said, made it unfair to compare year-to-year results.

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