Updated 07/12/2012 10:10 PM
The Call Blog: Are City School Kids Progressing?
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The Bloomberg administration's claims keep getting tougher and tougher to buy as reports like these continue to cast doubt on them. While these findings most certainly don’t convey the whole picture, they do show the struggles City kids are having and continue to have even when they graduate and are not college ready. But rather than assign blame, the time has come to move past it and find a solution that will actually help students.
The City’s Independent Budget Office released a report today showing public school students are not progressing the way the Bloomberg administration has claimed. The IBO examined the Department of Education’s scores on English Language Arts tests to track the performance of 46,419 students from the school year 2005-2006 through 2009-2010, as they moved from third to seventh grade. It found nearly 62 percent of the students studied ended up at the same proficiency level in sixth grade as where they started in third grade; about 30 percent of students showed improvement, while eight percent of kids dropped to a lower level. Keep in mind, because of changes in state tests in 2009-2010, comparisons were limited to sixth grade rather than seventh grade.
The IBO touts the report as one that hones in on the scores of individual students, rather than the traditional method of analyzing how students from a specific grade perform on a test in comparison with the previous year. But, the Department of Education finds the research “invalid.” A DOE spokeswoman released a statement saying, “Testing experts know that performance levels on New York State tests cannot be compared from grade to grade without additional analysis, which this study failed to complete or consider.” While the author of the report recognizes some inconsistencies, he says the findings can still provide a “context to the public” in the debate over student test scores.
Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew responded to the report, saying: “If the DOE had given teachers a solid curriculum and the ability to really educate our kids, we would have seen a lot more growth in student learning.” He said, “Test prep is not an educational strategy, and in the long run it doesn’t even give you better test scores.” What do you say?
What’s your reaction to the findings in this report? Is it a slap in the face for the Bloomberg administration? Do the findings prove what the UFT and education activists have long argued – that teaching to the test does not lead to student improvement? How would rate your child’s progress in City public schools?
Respond with your thoughts using the link above.
How many more times are we going to complain about this mayor and all of his projects. Whatever he puts his prints on becomes a disaster. All of these politicians are just the same. They are all good for nothing and are just collecting their pay checks and bide their time.
What kind of programs are going on in P.S. 83. Is loud music on the agenda. Since they all ignore what I have to say I feel free to ask this question. They have the nerve to retaliate.
SO MUCH FOR THIRD TERMS.
Who’s surprised? Whoever thought a mayor, especially Bloomberg should be in charge of schools? Take the Cathy Black incident as proof of Bloomberg’s incompetence. How could you think for one second that a person with zero experience in schooling should be placed in charge of NYC’s schools?
A second mistake is to allow teachers unions to exist. No government employees should be unionized. It’s a conflict of interest. They should be busted up.
If this is true:
A DOE spokeswoman released a statement saying, “Testing experts know that performance levels on New York State tests cannot be compared from grade to grade without additional analysis, which this study failed to complete or consider.”
then how can the DOE justify teacher evaluations based on the tests?
Lizabeth (retired teacher)
Upper West Side
I don't know what this ploy is about, but I think that the Department of Education (rather the Board, as it should be) is trying to make themselves look good in the spade of recent debaucheries, such as the failure of turnaround (which currently has my school in limbo). At this point, I think we've become too centered on tests, like what Mulgrew said. I don't know about these politicians, but I'm a student currently, and I can tell you personally that all we are taught are test prep, which frustrates many if not most of my teachers since they don't want to teach to the test. Maybe if the Board (not Department) decided to think of me as a person, and deal with me as such, and not a statistic where I'll be used to garner money, which will be misused anyways.
South Jamaica (Flushing High School Student)
This has nothing to do with teaching to the test.The problem is that most students are not putting forth the effort to learn which is evidenced by the lack of progress in student proficiency levels. Teachers teach the curriculum and tests assess student learning.
Standardized testing is the problem. How can you have a standardized test in a community as diverse as New York City?
As a speech-language pathology and special education major, I am not surprised to see that New York City students are not progressing between the third and sixth grade. When I volunteered at a local public school towards the end of the school year, the last two months of school was entirely test-prep. The students hated. Plain and simple, the system is a mess. When the government values rote, standardized, teaching methodologies over enriched, experiential learning -- the children do not progress and we blame our teachers for their failure.
My kid was promoted to the 6th grade and she is just reading on the 2nd grade level! This sucks
A large part of the problem is that large amounts of money that could go to helping students are being spent on tests and test prep materials and private consultants. Class sizes under Mayor Bloomberg have been going up year after year. Smaller class sizes mean more teacher time for each child.
In the classroom, even with the simple shift from creative "handmade" lesson plans to worksheets and standardized work, you can see the difference in students' reactions to classwork. Once students are in middle school and high school, this issue of motivation and liking to learn becomes even more important. How can we encourage students to learn when the work we give them (teaching to the test) is completely robotic-- work the students cannot relate to in the slightest. We are dampening their chances to love learning.
The conclusion that "70% of students from third grade through 6th grade showed no improvement" is not accurate. Students who remained at the same level of proficiency from year to year were making year for year progress. Therefore, those who were in Level 3 "on grade level" and remained in that level from third to sixth grade did improve. They continued to read at grade level over the years. The concern is for the Level 1's and 2's who were below level. They need to make more than a year's worth of progress within the year to reach grade level proficiency. That is where the push is in many schools. One also has to be concerned about those who move from a higher level of proficiency to a lower. This indicates that they haven't made a sufficient amount of progress with in the year.