Testing 1 2 3

Thursday, July 22, 2010

David Steiner, New York State education commissioner and president of the University of the State of New York, discusses findings that say New York's standardized tests have become easier, and even students who pass the tests are falling short in college.


David Steiner

Comments [10]

Stefanie from Plainview

You don't have to be an education expert to see the shortcomings of the NYS assessments in content and scoring, particularly in mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). Local school boards tout scores of 3s (meeting state standards) and 4s (exceeding state standards) as evidence of proficiency, quality curriculum and teaching when in actuality students scoring in the low and mid 3s should be in remedial math and English. Scoring a 4 doesn't necessarily mean a student is well-prepared for the following year's work either. Oftentimes top results are derived from extensive test prep or home support and tutoring and not classroom instruction.

There have been many articles discussing the problems with NYS assessments. Another problem is within the state standards themselves. Curriculum is a mile wide and an inch deep. For example, children are exposed to math concepts like place value in bits and pieces over the course of several years rather than learning the topic, practicing and mastering it and moving on.

The assessments can serve an important purpose, mainly to ensure that all areas are being covered for all students and to provide feedback for students, particularly in areas of weakness. Instead many questions are too basic and they employ convoluted reporting systems, giving out test scores and information over the summer when teachers are not available. Unless a parent requests the actual test results it is difficult to understand what areas your child needs to improve.

It's time for the board of Regents to take action. They need to create reasonable and achievable educational goals and bring back high standards and accountability to public education. Assessments need to be meaningful. Provide timely and informative feedback so that the tests can help the actual student. Most of what needs to happen is common sense.

Jul. 30 2010 07:11 PM
Jack from New Jersey

I have taught in GA, VA and NJ and I always feel that school systems only want to ''improve" ways of getting money and improve statistics.

You can bend and twist these tests until they look like a Moebius strip, but the fact remains that the performance ofthe students is mainly poor because of their lack of effort and family support.

As usual, we think money and change will cure everything while solutions are all of political nature.

The data that they use to support changes are dubious at best, or simply wrong.

Jul. 23 2010 10:33 AM
Edmund from NYC

We have a much bigger problem with Regent's testing as schools give, proctor, and grade the exams. No one is looking. What do you think people will do to keep a school open?

Jul. 23 2010 09:51 AM
jack from staten island

Josh Karan is right on the mark. It is well known that Bloomberg went to great lengths to create an aura of success which did not exist. Astronomical gains, which were clearly fraudulent, were not only never questioned by his administration but were embraced and celebrated. A surreal theater was played out, particularly at election time and the media, loathe to endure Bloomberg's wrath, played along. Unfortunately, the interview with Commissioner Steiner sounded much like more of the same.

Jul. 22 2010 03:57 PM
Josh Karan from Washington Heights

Your coverage of NYC public education has been irresponsible in its brevity, and has resulted in the same lack of probing of sources that you criticized in your earlier segment on unsourced blogs.

NYS Education Commissioner David Steiner was allowed to assert that NYC/NYS scores on the national tests NAEP, have showed significant improvement under Klein-Bloomberg.

While the definition of "significant" is always at issue, there has in fact been very little gain under this administration,
( for full examination see Diane Ravitch

That is what makes the inflation of NYS test scores so important to note, because Bloomberg won re-election & then re-authorization of Mayoral control of the schools based on upon the purported success that a Daily News editorial now calls fraud.

NYC is being viewed by Education Secretary Duncan & others across the country as providing the direction for education that others should follow, based upon its purported success.

That this has been fraudulent should give us all pause, because the consequences are so dire --- another cohort of unprepared students for whom the future will be bleak.

You were unprepared to challenge David Steiner on facts that you should know regarding the reality of NYC NAEP scores.

For many years, your allocation of only 15 minute segments on NYC public schools have given insufficient attention to the reality of lack of performance by the Bloomberg-Klein administration in one of the most important functions of city government, a reality which has impact on national education policy.

Jul. 22 2010 11:45 AM

As a teacher I find it very frustrating that every state has its own curriculum, and that there are national tests but no national standards (one basic curriculum). I do agree that the NY tests are too easy. In my school we practice by pulling from the Florida and Texas exams. I do think that these exams test some forms of knowledge but not all. Many of our children had incredible life skills that are not reflected on a test score.

Jul. 22 2010 10:45 AM
Jamison from Fort Green

Being dislexic and over all just learned in different ways in school, I would have never made it past highs school and collage if I had to take all these test given today.
Im looking forward to having kids but I refuse to put them throw what is going down in schools these days!

Jul. 22 2010 10:43 AM
Carolita from N

This is all nonsense. Teachers don't need the No Child Left Behind incentive to cheat. In the late 70s and early 80s when I was in HS teachers were cheating by hinting at correct answers on AP tests, leaving the room during Regents' exams. They'll do anything to keep the grade average of their classes up.

Jul. 22 2010 10:43 AM
Jane from Manhattan

CUNY is rolling out a new MANDATORY English writing test. Students will have to pass the test for admission to a CUNY 2 or 4 year college.

Jul. 22 2010 10:37 AM
Mike from NYU

The problem is not the difficulty of the test (although) it is likely too easy, but that the students are taught based on a test in the first place. They under-preform in college because all they have ever learned is test prep and information regurgitation. In college they must be able to rely on critical thinking and analytical writing that are not taught to students until college.

Jul. 22 2010 10:36 AM

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