Questionable contract?

If you want to volunteer for our Citizens Contract Oversight Committee, or have a tip to share, please email us at NYCschoolcontractwatch@gmail.com

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fred Smith: why the NY State Education Department deserves an "F" on their own exams


Fred Smith is an expert on testing who used to work in the NYC Board of Education, and has been instrumental in uncovering and publicizing the rampant state test score inflation that has occurred over the last eight years in NY state.  He has an article in this month's City Limits, showing the lack of concerted action on the part of the Board of Regents and New York State Education Department, even after admitting that this inflation did indeed occur, to take the necessary steps to address it properly:
Several issues have never been addressed:

--Why have SED administrators been protected, given their misleading reporting and defense of inadequate testing from 2006 to 2009?
--Why did the state’s technical advisors insist that cut off scores on the tests were lowered because the items had gotten harder—when they had evidence to the contrary?
--Who’s responsible for the field testing procedures that yielded inaccurate data on which the exams were built, and what’s been the penalty?
--Who set the 2009 cut points so low that kids with serious academic problems could guess their way out of this category, depriving them of needed support services?

Those are questions about the past that have been ducked.  But the state of the latest tests also demands scrutiny. 2010’s exams were advertised as more rigorous. Analysis of these instruments reveals the items were easier than ever…
Please read this important analysis; instead of showing the proper humility, the Regents and SED recently decided that state test score results should account for up to 40% of a teacher's evaluation.  Given their sorry record in developing reliable assessments, their insistence in this regard is quite amazing. 

3 comments:

roseonpolitics said...

Not only are these exams useless for parents, it's ditto for students. Having gone through the system when Bloomberg took office, I can say first hand his initiates haven't helped.

Susan said...

Here are my answers to Fred Smith's questions re NYSED --

Several issues have never been addressed:

--Why have SED administrators been protected, given their misleading reporting and defense of inadequate testing from 2006 to 2009?

So that the Education Reform "miracle" can proceed without any pesky "facts" getting in the way.

--Why did the state's technical advisors insist that cut off scores on the tests were lowered because the items had gotten harder—when they had evidence to the contrary?

I just learned that SED has no psychometricians on staff. Statisticians yes, but not those people trained to actually construct-- not to mention "deconstruct" -- tests. In other
words, they have people who can crunch test score data, but no one who can actually explain what it means.


--Who's responsible for the field testing procedures that yielded inaccurate data on which the exams were built, and what's been the penalty?

"Details, details." (Max Bialystock in "The Producers.")


--Who set the 2009 cut points so low that kids with serious academic problems could guess their way out of this category, depriving them of needed support services?

Howard Wolfson, so he could intone "crime is down, test scores are up" hourly leading up to the Nov. 2009 mayoral election.

--Those are questions about the past that have been ducked. But the state of the latest tests also demands scrutiny. 2010s exams were advertised as more rigorous. Analysis of these instruments reveals the items were easier than ever¦

Plus ce change, plus c'est la meme chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).

Anonymous said...

The real scary part is these exams are what will be used to close schools,rate teachers,children and administrators,while all the work done in the classroom all year is considered meaningless!What a system we have produced.