EdTrust–NY issues statement on New York State Education Department release of Spring 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA & Math Assessment Results

by | Sep 26, 2018 | Statements

The following statement can be attributed to Ian Rosenblum, Executive Director of The Education Trust–New York:

“This year’s state test results represent a new baseline for New York’s students. The changes in the assessments, which make this year’s results incomparable to last year’s, are the result of good faith efforts by the State Education Department to improve confidence in the state tests. Their efforts are working, as evidenced by this year’s opt-out rate, which continues a consistent multi-year decline.

It is now time to stop giving disproportionate political sway to the small, and shrinking, segment of parents who opt-out, and instead focus our urgency, attention, and resources on all students, including the vast majority of students – many from historically under-served groups – who are taking assessments and depending on our public education system to deliver the quality education they deserve.

While many will choose to focus on the limits of what we can tell from this year’s state assessment results, we call on state and local leaders to focus on the big picture: These test results are a vital measure to help parents, educators, and the public understand where schools are succeeding and can be models; where schools are under-serving students – particularly the most vulnerable young people – and should focus on improvement; and where our education system must do more to live up to the promise of opportunity for all students.

The bottom line from the grades 3-8 test results is that New York’s education system is only enabling about one in three Latino, Black, and low-income students to be on track for college and career readiness – and far fewer students with disabilities and English language learners. Our failure to adequately prepare all groups of students for future success is confirmed by multiple other measures – including high school graduation rates, college matriculation, college remediation rates, college persistence, degree attainment, and employment outcomes. While some special interests will focus on demeaning the state tests, we believe these results are an essential call for action on behalf of the state’s students. Answering this call is the fundamental equity challenge facing the state, and it requires a continued commitment to rigorous standards and strong assessments, which provide valuable information to help determine where additional supports and resources are needed.

As the State Education Department has noted, this year’s results reflect revised performance standards due to the new and shorter assessment format. As a result, the definition of what it means to be ‘proficient’ – or on track for college and career readiness – seems to have modestly shifted. The difference between how each state defines ‘proficiency’ compared to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is known as the nation’s report card, has been called the ‘honesty gap.’ New York has historically been a national leader in reducing or eliminating the ‘honesty gap’ so parents have an accurate picture of whether their children are on track to being prepared for college and careers. This is an important issue to watch, and it is essential to protect the state’s well-earned reputation as we move forward with revised standards and assessments.”