Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Benjamin Center: Failing the Test #Pearson

by Fred Smith, retired administrative analyst with the New York City public school system, with Robin Jacobowitz, Director of Education Projects at the Benjamin Center
...In a soon-to-be released report, Fred Smith, retired administrative analyst with the New York City public school system, in partnership with the Benjamin Center, explores the efficacy of the testing program by examining the constructed response questions (CRQs) on the ELA tests, with a focus on zero scores. These questions require students to provide written answers which can earn from zero to two (0-2) or zero to four (0-4) points, as judged by trained scorers.
Why zeroes? Because a zero on a CRQ reflects a student’s complete inability to cope with the test material. According to the test scoring rubrics, a zero is given to an answer that is “totally inaccurate,” “unintelligible,” or “indecipherable.” Keep in mind that a student can get a score of one (1) for partial answers and even incomplete sentences. A zero (0), then, represents an irrelevant or incomprehensible answer. We studied how the percentage of zero scores changed with the advent of Common Core-aligned assessments.
A snapshot of our key findings shows:
  • A steep increase in the percentage of students receiving zeroes on the CRQs in 2013 when the CC-aligned tests debuted 
  • Particularly sharp increases, sustained over time, in the percentage of zeroes for students in Grades 3 and 4 and for English Language Learners and students with disabilities 
  • Higher zero scores for Black and Hispanic students compared to White and Asian students...  

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