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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New York's High Stakes Test Data of "Diminished Usefulness" Due to Opt Out Numbers

New York parents and students who opted out of the last round of testing should be proud and energized, even though the state's chief miseducator remains unbowed so far by the opt out numbers that are finally coming to light. 

This school year should be one of organizing resistance in every town and village to choose education and reject the unending corporate testing agenda that is destroying what's left of legitimate school learning practices.

From the Buffalo News:
. . . . The new standards are more rigorous, involving more writing across all subject areas, a greater emphasis on nonfiction and a different approach to math that requires students to work through complex, multistep math problems.

The result – at least in the first two years with the test – has been dramatically lower performance, even among suburban school districts that historically performed well.

And those scores now factor into teacher evaluations, although educators can’t lose their job because of their students’ state test performance.

Still, that’s little comfort to administrators in districts where large numbers of students opted out, something they say affected their overall performance and diminished the usefulness of the results.

In West Seneca, for example, the percentage of students who opted out at each grade level ranged from 27 percent to 63 percent.

“We respected the rights of parents to make a decision,” said Mark Crawford, superintendent of the West Seneca schools, where about a third of students opted out of the test.

“We knew that our opt-out numbers were very significant and would have an impact on the achievement levels for students, especially for Levels 3 and 4,” he added. “So at the moment, I can’t tell you what it means from the state’s point of view.”  . . . .

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