Low passing scores on New York Common Core Algebra Test | The Daily Caller - FACTOIDS
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Low passing scores on New York Common Core Algebra Test | The Daily Caller

Around the country this academic year, students have been taking lengthy standardized tests related to the Common Core Standards Initiative, a set of K-12 math and language arts curriculum benchmarks and high-stakes standardized tests now being implemented in most states.

Proponents of Common Core have hyped the standards as more stringent and demanding than the standards and various standardized tests previously chosen by state officials and mere local school boards.

However, reports The Hechinger Report, state education officials are recalibrating the way passing scores are calculated for the Common Core-aligned algebra and English tests students took this week as part of the state’s mandatory Regents exams.

Just like in the days before Common Core, students who answer less than a third of the algebra questions will still get a passing score.

Officials are lowering passing scores for the English test, too.

The stated reason for the drastically low proficiency scores is that education bureaucrats are concerned that students may not master algebra as it is taught under Common Core.

Algebra was invented around 1800 B.C. and has been effectively taught in some form for well over 3,000 years. It became a discrete branch of mathematics at the close of the 16th century — roughly 400 years ago.

New York education officials are worried, though, because the state has been among the first to introduce Common Core-aligned standardized tests. Parents already complained last year when third through eighth graders took Common Core tests and overall scores decreased dramatically.

The new test questions are designed differently. Among other things, some demand that students “justify” their answers in addition to coming up with them. Also, teachers have few sample questions and virtually no test prep material.

For high school students, their diplomas hang in the balance because they must pass six Regents examinations in order to graduate.

“What they don’t want to do is create a massive drop-out rate,” Maria Voles Ferguson, executive director of George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy, told The Hechinger Report. “To expect 85 percent of the students to be proficient on a brand new exam that covers brand new material isn’t reasonable. You have to get teachers trained. Students need to adjust.”

However, some Common Core advocates say speed is essential when it comes to rolling out the tests aligned to the standards. Waiting would be bad.

“That ends up signaling to teachers that you don’t actually need to know the content,” Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute told Hechinger.


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