On a scale of 0 to 500, average math scores for the NY state dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago
New York found itself in an unwelcome spotlight Tuesday as the only state where fourth-grade math scores fell significantly during the latest round of national testing.
On a scale of 0 to 500, average scores for the state dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago, federal testing officials reported. This marked the first time since 1992 that New York's performance in fourth-grade math has fallen below the national average, as recorded by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The national average is 240 this year, up from 239 in 2009.
The assessment, described as the "nation's report card," is a federally funded project that since 1969 has tested samples of students at the national and state levels.
In another blow to New York, the head of the NAEP's Governing Board singled out the state along with two others as places where overall academic progress has been particularly sluggish -- both in reading and math -- during the past eight years.
The NAEP chief, David Driscoll, a former Massachusetts education commissioner, observed in remarks prepared for a Washington news conference Tuesday that New York, Iowa and West Virginia had "stood virtually still" since 2003 in percentages of students attaining proficiency on fourth- and eighth-grade tests. Driscoll now is chairman of the NAEP's Governing Board, a bipartisan panel appointed by the U.S. education secretary to oversee testing policy.
New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. called the results "disappointing and unacceptable" and said the new Common Core curriculum will help student achievement.
"The goal is college and career readiness for every student and that starts the first day a child walks into a classroom," King said in a statement.
The Common Core curriculum is part of a multiyear, national drive to raise the bar of American students' achievement. The new standards put more emphasis on advanced literacy and applied math. The program, which is linked to international academic standards, has been approved by 44 states.
Driscoll said in a phone interview before the news conference that New York had made considerable efforts to boost scholastic achievement. Driscoll went on, however, to suggest that his own state of Massachusetts had made greater progress by aligning its testing standards early on with standards set at the national level -- a move that New York only recently began.
"I think the proof here is that Massachusetts leaped to the top of the country," Driscoll said of his state's test scores. "If you're a coach, I don't think you start the season saying you want to go two and eight."
In recent years, state school officials have conceded that the cutoff scores they set for students to reach proficiency level had dropped too low. Those cutoffs were abruptly raised in July 2010, with Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York Board of Regents, declaring that the state was doing a disservice "when we say that a child is proficient when that child is not."
What do you think, will it ever go up? Now that we are faced with rising cost of pensions, other benefits coupled with budget cuts and increase in class sizes, it seems like all downhill from here. What's your opinion ?