Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More doubts raised on NYC's NAEP scores

A couple of updates on the NAEP story, which found mostly stagnant results in all categories except fourth grade math for NYC since 2003, when the Bloomberg/Klein reforms were first introduced.

Elizabeth Green of the NY Sun reports today that DOE provided more accommodations and extra time to a larger percentage of fourth graders than any other city in the country – so much so that several testing experts are saying the results should be considered invalid.

On three of four tests, the accommodation rate was around 20%. On the fourth-grade math exam, an extraordinary 25% of students were given accommodations -- and this was the only test that showed significant gains.

Nevertheless, Chancellor Klein sent a mass email yesterday to 100,000 DOE employees, contending that the NAEP results signaled great improvements. To the Daily News, Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf justified this PR effort, saying:

"Our great educators should feel extraordinarily proud of their work," he said. "And it is important to remind them of how much they are achieving on behalf of the children of the city even if others would prefer to ignore the power of their work."

This statement ignores the fact that the poor results on the NAEP are not any sign of failure of our hard-working principals and teachers, but are instead a reflection of the poor leadership at Tweed, which has put into effect one incoherent reorganization after another over the past five years, without fundamentally improving the learning conditions in our schools. Indeed, our educators have had to work overtime just to stem the losses that would have otherwise occurred.

Also see Eduwonkette , who further deconstructs the NAEP scores, showing little improvement, and no real narrowing of the achievement gap – even in 4th grade math.

She concludes: “The New York City Dept of Ed has demanded "data-driven decision making" from its educators, but is now asking us to deny the data… For the sake of the kids involved, let us hope that those running the Department of Ed will begin to look at all of the evidence and evaluate their policies accordingly.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I don't see why you're making such a fuss over poor Chancellor Klein. Hasn't he extended the school day and year? Hasn't he brought charter schools with even longer days and years? Hasn't he stopped mollycoddling the teachers?

It's important that the riff-raff learn they need to work long hours, and it's important they see their teachers get fired, so they know the same thing might happen to them. And Mayor Bloomberg, a fellow billionaire, knows just how hard it is to find adequate help.

Honestly, who wants to hear workers moaning about days off, or benefits, or working conditions? Chancellor Klein is doing a great job showing them what life will be like in the real world. I'd be pleased as punch to offer them positions in my household after they've been trained properly.

Let's get with the program, for goodness' sake.