Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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September 16, 2013

Quick study

New state tests and Common Core bringing rapid changes


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The reasoning for the Common Core and the harder tests was simply that Albany believes New York graduates aren’t ready for college or the workforce. Even though the state graduation rate was 74 percent, a Harvard study declared that only 35 percent of New York high school graduates are college or workforce ready. “Ready” means scoring a 75 or higher on the 11th-grade English Regents exam and 80 or above on the integrated math Regents test.

About 50 percent of those who enter a two-year college need to take some kind of remedial course, Croft said. That number drops to 10 percent when talking about students who enter a four-year school and need a remedial course.

In addition to making the tests more difficult, how the assessments were scored changed as well. For example, in 2012, third-graders who took the state mathematics test and were given a raw score of 684 (with the highest being 770) were said to have scored at level 3 or met the state standard. The 684 would have landed the student in the 40th percentile when compared to their peers across the state.

Now, a raw score of 293 (with the highest being 394) means a student will score a level 2 or below the state standard. But that student will also be in the 40th percentile. For the third-grade math exam, a level 3 student would land in the 70th percentile.

”It is now much more difficult to achieve those passing (level 3) scores,” Croft said.

The raw scores and corresponding levels are different with each test and grade level. But all of them have changed, increasing the threshold a student will have to score in order to reach a level 3. And it also increases the range of raw scores that are level 1 and level 2, something that might trouble parents of students who were borderline level 2s and so close to a level 3 score. Or parents of kids whose scores have been increasing in percentile but end up staying or dropping a level under the new system.

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