From Diane Ravitch's book, a must read for every teacher and parent on Earth:
Why did the number of students at level 1 [the lowest scorers] plummet? Becase the state lowered the bar and made it easier for students to reach level 2. On the sixth-grade reading test in 2006,students needed to earn 41 percent of the points to attain level 2; by 2009 students in that grade needed only 17.9 percent. In seventh-grade math, students needed to earn 36.2 percent of the points on the test to advance to level 2 in 2006, but by 2009, they needed to earn only 22 percent. The standards to advance from level 1 to level 2 dropped so low that many students could get enough correct answers to pass to level 2 by randomly guessing (p. 79).Scores continued to soar through 2009, when Bloomberg squeaked out a re-anointment from the voters and the State as Prince of Schools for another term. It couldn't have been done, however, without the help of fellow partners in crime, Gates and Broad (Ravitch, 2010, p. 80).
So now that Bloomberg's rule has been assured for years to come, it is time for the chickens to come home to roost, as they must, in preparation for the test score evaluation scheme that is being developed to kill off the teaching profession in Gotham and throughout the State (RTTT, anyone?). After all, the need for the last charade is over, even as a new charade is about to begin.
Meanwhile, will anyone hold the Mayor accountable for the fact that at PS 179 in the Bronx the percentage of 3rd graders proficient in Math went from 91% to 21% in one year? Will anyone be accountable for the hundreds of thousands of children's educational plans that were devised with nothing but phony data to use?
Don't count on it, for the Prince and his covey of yes men in Albany have already made an appeal to Duncan to keep the hundreds of suddenly-failing schools off the federal rhymes-with-hit list. And with Gates and Broad giving Duncan his orders, who possibly to say no to such a request?
A clip from the Times article:
Applying new, tougher standards, state education officials said Wednesday that more than half of public school students in New York City failed their English exams this year, and 54 percent of them passed in math.
The results were in stark contrast to successes that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had heralded in recent years. When he ran for re-election in 2009, he boasted of state test scores that showed two-thirds of city students were passing English and 82 percent were passing math.
But state education officials said that performance was misleading because those scores were inflated by tests that had become easier to pass. The scores released on Wednesday were the first attempt to establish what the officials considered a more trustworthy measure of students’ abilities.
Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents, said she had encouraged teachers and parents to greet the news “not with disappointment and not with anger.”
“Now that we are facing the hard truth that not all of the gains were as advertised, we have to take a look at what we can do differently,” she said. “These results will finally provide real, unimpeachable evidence to be used for accountability.” . . . .