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10 Years of Assessing Students With Scientific Exactitude

Ohanian Comment: Of course this New York testing timeline applies nationally. But I give comments over to a very savvy longtime New York teacher.

Education Notes Comment:

Michael Winerip Lays Waste to NY State Ed Department Testing Program

The headline in today's eagerly awaited Michael Winerip column in the NY Times -- 10 Years of Assessing Students With Scientific Exactitude -- probably tops all that went before in terms of how far Winerip's tongue is planted in his cheek in the use of the words "scientific exactitude" in describing a decade of NY State Ed Department testing.

He lays waste to former Commisioner Richard Mills -- one of the worst people in the world -- by capturing some of his rediculous comments after every single test fisaco.

He gives a little credit to current regent head Merryl Tisch -- the 2nd worst person in the world -- [Ohanian note: Put Merryl Tish into a search on this site] when he says:

Finally someone -- Dr. Tisch, the chancellor of the Board of Regents -- has the sense to stand up at a news conference and say that the state test scores are so ridiculously inflated that only a fool would take them seriously, thereby unmasking the mayor, the chancellor and the former state commissioner.

Tisch is anything but a fool -- though she may be a crook in the way the wives of billionaires can be-- call her a moral crook. (Check her family connections below to the K12 online operation the Times exposed last week WITHOUT MENTIONING THE TISCH CONNECTION plus other exposures we have done over the years.) If she didn't do something she would have had zero credibility and zero reputation so she saved her ass, which has brought her into some mild conflicts with her next door neighbor Michael Bloomberg.

Winerip took a nice shot at Tisch back in August as chronicled in this Ed Notes piece:

Ed Notes Online: Is the Evil Meryl Tisch Even Eviler than Eva?
Aug 16, 2011
Michael Winerip wrote Monday on the evil and the good at State Board of Regents which ostensibly should control the absolutely evil NY State Ed Dept but even eviler (out eviling Eva) Regent boss Meryl Tisch has taken all ...

How well did her choice - David (Give Cathie Black a Waiver) Steiner do before running for the hills after just 2 years? His successor John (I love any charter no matter what) King also comes in for some biting satire in the Winerip piece:
NOVEMBER 2011 New York is one of two states in the nation to post statistically significant declines on the National Assessment tests. John B. King, the education commissioner, says the state is certainly going in the wrong direction, but has a plan to spur students' achievement. "The new Common Core Learning Standards will help get them there," he says.

DEC. 19, 2011 Nearly a quarter of the state's principals -- 1,046 -- have signed an online letter protesting the plan to evaluate teachers and principals by test scores. Among the reasons cited is New York's long tradition of creating tests that have little to do with reality.

From Ed Notes May 4, 2011:
Tisch Family Connections to K12 Board and Charter School

K12's board is headed by Andrew Tisch, co-chair of Loew's Corp, the brother in law of Merryl Tisch, who is in turn, the head of the NYS board of Regents. Meetings of the NY state education department are often held in the Loew's headquarters, which is run by Merryl's husband, James. http://www.loews.com/loews.nsf/OfficeOfPresident.pdf

The NYS Regents are currently considering eliminating all seat time requirements, and to allow the rapid and essentially unregulated expansion of online learning. In addition, K12 has submitted a charter application to the Regents/NYSED, called "NY Flex charter school" in D2, that has gone through the preliminary approval process by NYSED. (EDNote: Pedro Noguera who is considered by many to be on the anti-ed deform side chairs the SUNY charter committee. There have been charges he approves every charter request.)

In an earlier iteration/application, K12 was clearly running the school, now the application has been revised to indicate that the school will "contract" out with K12 for services, including curriculum, assessments, teacher training, and other support and services as requested by the Board and staff of the school.

This recasting of the application is to avoid legal conflicts w/ the new NY state charter law which bars for-profit companies from operating charter schools. Here is an article about this controversial issue: http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4185/pedagogy-and-profits-charter-school-bid-raises-questions

MORE TISCH ON ED NOTES:
Ed Notes Online: Dishonor Among Thieves: Merryl Tisch Wrote ...

Ed Notes has learned that the letter Governor Cuomo supposedly wrote to Merryl Tisch and the State Board of Regents calling for a change from weighing teacher evaluations based on state tests from 20 to 40% was in fact ... http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/

Ed Notes Online: Is the Evil Meryl Tisch Even Eviler than Eva? Michael Winerip wrote Monday on the evil and the good at State Board of Regents which ostensibly should control the absolutely evil NY State Ed Dept but even eviler (out eviling Eva) Regent boss Meryl Tisch has taken all ...

Ed Notes Online: The Political Underbelly of Ed Deform: Enormous ...
Nov 03, 2011
Now as an opponent of using tests to measure everything I hate to jump on the necks of Merryl Tisch and her neighbor Bloomberg - no, I really don't hate to do it - they lived by the sword and should die by the sword...


By Michael Winerip

In the last decade, we have emerged from the Education Stone Age. No longer must we rely on primitive tools like teachers and principals to assess children's academic progress. Thanks to the best education minds in Washington, Albany and Lower Manhattan, we now have finely calibrated state tests aligned with the highest academic standards. What follows is a look back at New York's long march to a new age of accountability.

DECEMBER 2002 The state's education commissioner, Richard P. Mills, reports to the state Regents: "Students are learning more than ever. Student achievement has improved in relation to the standards over recent years and continues to do so."

JANUARY 2003 New York becomes one of the first five states to have its testing system approved by federal officials under the new No Child Left Behind law. The Princeton Review rates New York's assessment program No. 1 in the country.

SPRING 2003 Teachers from around New York complain that the state's scoring of newly developed high school tests is out of whack, with biology and earth science tests being too easy and the physics test too hard. The state Council of School Superintendents finds the physics scores so unreliable, it sends a letter to colleges for the first time in its history urging them to disregard the test result. Dr. Mills does not flinch, calling the tests "statistically sound" and "in accordance with nationally accepted standards."

JUNE 2003 Scores on the state algebra test are so poorly calibrated that 70 percent of seniors fail. After a statewide outcry, officials agree to throw out the results. The Princeton Review says that ranking New York first was a mistake. "We're going to have to come up with a fiasco index for a state like New York that messes up a lot of people's lives," a spokesman says.

OCTOBER 2003 A special panel appointed to investigate the state math fiasco concludes that the test "can't accurately predict performance, was created "on the cheap" and was full of exam questions that were "poorly worded" and "confusing."

DECEMBER 2003 The director of state testing resigns. It was his idea to leave, a spokesman says.

MAY 2004 For the fourth year in a row, scores have risen on elementary and middle school state reading and math tests. Dr. Mills urges the Regents: "Look at the data that shows steadily rising achievement of the standards in school districts of all wealth and categories. More children are learning more now than ever before."

FEBRUARY 2005 Dr. Mills rebukes those who question whether state scores are inflated. "The exams are not the problem," he said in a report to the Regents. "It's past time to turn from obsessive criticism of the exam and solve the real problems -- the students who are not educated to the standards."

SPRING 2005 New York City fourth graders make record gains on the state English test, with 59 percent scoring as proficient, compared with 49 percent the year before. "Amazing results" that "should put a smile on the face of everybody in the city," says Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who happily recites the numbers on his way to re-election.

FALL 2005 The federal tests (the National Assessment of Educational Progress), which are considered more rigorous than the state tests, show a drop in New York City reading scores. On the eighth-grade test, 19 percent are proficient in 2005, compared with 22 percent in 2003. Asked if city and state officials had hyped the state test results, Merryl H. Tisch, a Regent, says, "They have never, ever, ever exaggerated."

SEPTEMBER 2007 New York's national assessment test results are again dismal; eighth-grade reading scores are lower than they were in 1998.

DECEMBER 2007 In his report to the Regents, Dr. Mills notes, "A rich, scholarly literature has challenged NAEP validity since the early 1990s." He announces a plan to develop the first new state learning standards since 1996, to further spur academic excellence.

JUNE 2008 Newly released state test scores show another record year for New York children. Math scores for grades three through eight indicate that 80.7 percent are proficient, up from 72.7 in 2007. "Can we trust these results?" Dr. Mills asks. "Yes, we can. New York's testing system, including grades three through eight tests, passed a rigorous peer review last year by the U.S. Department of Education. State Education Department assessment experts commission independent parallel analyses to double- and sometimes triple-check the work of our test vendor."

JUNE 2009 In the previous decade, New York students' average SAT verbal score has dropped to 484 from 494; the math SAT score has dropped to 499 from 506. The national assessment's fourth-grade reading scores have been stagnant for four years, and the eighth-grade scores are their lowest in a decade.

But somehow, state test scores again soar to record levels. In New York City, 81 percent of students are deemed proficient in math, and 68.8 percent are proficient in English. "This is a big victory for the city," the schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, says, "and we should bask in it." In November the mayor is elected to a third term, again riding the coattails of sweet city scores.

JULY 2010 Finally someone --Dr. Tisch, the chancellor of the Board of Regents -- has the sense to stand up at a news conference and say that the state test scores are so ridiculously inflated that only a fool would take them seriously, thereby unmasking the mayor, the chancellor and the former state commissioner. State scores are to be scaled down immediately, so that the 68.8 percent English proficiency rate at the start of the news conference becomes a 42.4 proficiency rate by the end of the news conference. Shael Polakow-Suransky, chief accountability officer for the city, offers the new party line: "We know there has been significant progress, and we know we have a long way to go." Whether there has been any progress at all during the Bloomberg years is questionable. The city's fourth-grade English proficiency rate for 2010 is no better than it was in February 2001, nine months before the mayor was first elected.

Mr. Polakow-Suransky says that even if city test scores were inflated, he is not aware of any credible research calling the city's 64 percent graduation rate into question.

FEBRUARY 2011 The city's 64 percent graduation rate is called into question. The state announces a new accountability measure: the percentage of high school seniors graduating who are ready for college or a career. By this standard, the graduation rate for New York City in 2009 was 23 percent.

MAY 2011 Embracing the latest new tool in the accountability universe, the governor, state chancellor and education commissioner ramrod a measure through the Board of Regents, mandating that up to 40 percent of teachers' and principals' evaluations be based on student test scores.

AUGUST 2011 With new, more rigorous state tests, city scores rise slightly. "We are certainly going in the right direction," the mayor says.

NOVEMBER 2011 New York is one of two states in the nation to post statistically significant declines on the National Assessment tests. John B. King, the education commissioner, says the state is certainly going in the wrong direction, but has a plan to spur students' achievement. "The new Common Core Learning Standards will help get them there," he says.

DEC. 19, 2011 Nearly a quarter of the state's principals -- 1,046 -- have signed an online letter protesting the plan to evaluate teachers and principals by test scores. Among the reasons cited is New York's long tradition of creating tests that have little to do with reality.

E-mail: oneducation@nytimes.com

— Michael Winerip with notes by Norm Scott
New York Times

2011-12-19

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/education/new-york-city-student-testing-over-the-past-decade.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=Michael%20Winerip&st=cse

NY


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