Liu Says Test Scores Demand Closer Examination
The results of national test scores of New York City public school students, which were released last Tuesday, showed “no significant improvement” in student performance from 2007, according to outgoing City Councilmember John Liu, leading the city comptroller-elect to comment: “The sobering results severely impugn the credibility of the city Department of Education’s Progress Reports for Schools, revealing them to be little more than a vehicle for agency self-promotion.”
Liu (D–Flushing), a member of the council Education Committee, pointed out, “Both state and national exams are meant to measure the same thing: educational achievement and progress. Stagnant performance levels by kids in the city’s schools on national tests, in stark contrast to vast improvements reported earlier this year on state exams, further impugn the validity of [School Chancellor Joel Klein’s] incessant trumpeting of the city DOE’s progress and claims that
thousand’s more students made academic progress this year’.”
Liu noted, “The national test results provide a common yardstick upon which not only student achievement can be measured, but also the reliability of the DOE’s Progress Reports for Schools, 85 percent of which is purportedly based on student performance and progress.”
The comptroller-elect pointed out that the DOE “deigns [sic] such exorbitant weight on student test results to determine everything, from school resources, including teachers’ tenures, to even the school’s very existence”.
He concluded his comments on a slightly ominous note, saying, “Such divergent results from these high-stakes tests demand a closer examination and further analysis of the causes by either the New York state Department of Education or the city comptroller’s office.”
According to press reports, the national math scores released last Tuesday for city students showed no significant improvement over the 2007 results, which one report said were in contrast to major gains on state tests over the same period of time.
The report said 35 percent of city fourth graders tested proficient or above, compared with 34 percent in 2007.
Meanwhile, the results of state tests showed that 85 percent of fourth graders passed the math exams, an increase from 74 percent in 2007.
As for eighth graders, the report said 26 percent passed this year’s national test, compared to 22 percent in 2007, while on the state tests, 71 percent of eighth graders passed, a 25 percent increase from 2007, when 46 percent passed.