Posts tagged ‘Regents Examinations’

June 22, 2012

New York high school graduation rates are up, but college readiness is down

by Grace

Statewide high school graduation rates in New York are up slightly, but a lower percentage of students are ready for college and career.

Aspirational performance measures (APM) are designed to assess college and career readiness by designating the percentage of students who “earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a mathematics Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”)”.

In the Lower Hudson Valley where I live, graduation rates are higher than the statewide average, with 84% of students graduating on time.  Our local high school showed a slight upward trend in college and career readiness last year.

From the New York State Education June 11, 2012 press release:

“New York’s overall graduation rate has improved, but nearly a quarter of our students still don’t graduate after four years,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. “And too many of those students who do graduate aren’t ready for college and careers.

“These numbers make clear that we need to continue to pursue aggressive reforms in our schools including a new, richer curriculum and implementation of the new teacher evaluation law in districts across the state.”

“Our students are competing globally,” Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said. “That competition demands that we keep improving our graduation rates. But it also demands that we close the achievement gap and make sure students who do graduate are ready for college and careers. Next school year, we’ll be implementing the Common Core standards, which will help more students achieve college and career readiness.

“But another key is keeping students engaged. Whatever that engagement takes – advanced math and science, Career and Technical Education programs, or a humanities focused courseload – we need to make sure all our students are on a path that prepares them for college and careers after they graduate from high school.”

In New York City, only 20.7% of students met the ELA/Math APM.

* Graduation rates measure the cohort of students who completed high school in four years.  APMs are reported as a percentage of the cohort who “earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a mathematics Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”)


Related:  High school graduation goals do not include getting students ready for college

February 14, 2012

2012 New York Regents ‘English exam appears to be the easiest in memory’

by Grace

Hey college professors, the student who wrote this sentence in the short response section of the New York English Regents exam may be coming to your classroom next year.

These two Charater have very different mind Sets because they are creative in away that no one would imagen just put clay together and using leaves to create Art.

According to Michael Winerip of the NY Times, this writer has a “pretty good shot” of passing the New York English Regents exam, an important criteria for graduating high school.  After reviewing the questions and and grading standards, Winerip concludes that officials have opted to dumb down the state tests.

The current state English exam appears to be the easiest in memory.

It’s hard to get zero credit

From what I can tell, it would be very hard to get zero credit for the short response questions of the test.  Here’s the criteria from the scoring guide.

Score Point 0

  • is off topic, incoherent, a copy of the task/texts, or blank
  • demonstrates no understanding of the task/texts
  • is a personal response

According to these guidelines, the response example given above is coherent and deserves a score of 1.  Based on other examples in the teacher’s scoring guide, it appears that as long as the student makes some reference to the text in question and demonstrates even a little understanding of it, he will receive at least a one-point score.  There are no examples of “incoherent” responses in the guide, a possible indication that the bar is set very low for this category.

I remember looking at the state tests for elementary students and coming to a similar conclusion.  In particular I found that although it was easy to give some credit for each individual rubric factor and end up with an acceptable score, it was possible that the resulting paragraph in its entirety would hardly have qualified as an example of competent grade-level writing.  Funny how that worked.

UPDATE:  Catherine at Kitchen Table Math teaches college composition and says these children have been cheated, and so have we.

Comprehensive English Regents Examinations


October 17, 2011

Teacher intervention inflates New York Regents exam scores

by Grace

New York has a long-standing problem with inflated state test scores, including repeated citings of questionable grading practices but no concrete action to address the problem.

In 2003-4, the testing company CTB/McGraw-Hill rescored a sample of Regents exams and found that its scores were generally lower than the scores awarded by the schools, a sign that score inflation was taking place, according to a 2009 audit of Regents scoring by the state comptroller’s office….

… 2004 e-mail in which a state education official cited statistics that showed how teachers statewide appeared to be helping some students over the bar….

And in 2005, a team of the State Education Department’s own experts rescored some June Regents exams and found a “significant tendency for local school districts to award full credit on questions requiring scorer judgment, even when the exam answers were vague, incomplete, inaccurate, or insufficiently detailed,” the comptroller’s audit reported, adding, “These inaccuracies have tended to inflate the academic performance of students and schools.”

Teacher intervention is skewing the normal statistical distribution of grades

… about three times as many students scored exactly at the passing mark than at each one of the scores below it, a result not in keeping with a standard statistical distribution.

A New York State deputy commissioner of education:

“Obviously, teachers look for points to get kids to pass.”

Despite concerns about conflict of interest, teachers still score their own students’ or school’s test.

“We are relying more than ever on state exams — to measure student achievement, to evaluate teacher and principal effectiveness, and to hold schools and districts accountable for their performance,” Merryl H. Tisch, the Regents chancellor, said last month, in support of tightened grading practices. “If we’re going to use the tests in these ways, we need to be absolutely certain that our system is beyond reproach.”

July 8, 2011

Fewer Westchester County high school graduates are ready for college

by Grace

Local high schools continue to graduate high percentages of students, but fewer of those students are actually ready for college, according to new high-performance measures released Tuesday by the state.

Half of Westchester and Rockland graduates and 43 percent of Putnam graduates in June 2010 fell short of one top standard, measuring scores on English and math Regents exams.

A second standard, a Regents diploma with “advanced designation,” was earned by 45 percent of Rockland graduates, 46 percent of Putnam graduates and 31 percent of Westchester graduates — keeping in mind that several elite districts in Westchester use alternative testing….

The two new standards are designed to measure “aspirational performance,” according to state officials.

One standard requires that graduates score at least 75 on their English Regents exam and at least 80 on a math Regents exam.

This standard, Aspirational Performance Measure (APM), was formerly called “career and college ready”.   It measures the minimal requirements for college readiness, including the ability to score at least 80 on a basic algebra test (Integrated Algebra Regents Exam).  The low percentage of graduates meeting this standard is abysmal, especially considering that Westchester County spends an average $24,636 per pupil, the highest in the state and among the highest in the country.

Even in my local school district, where average per pupil spending is now up to $23,389 per year and where over 90% of graduates  go on to college, only 59% of high school graduates are considered “college ready”.

In 2010, getting 50% of the answers correct earned a score of 80 for students who took the Integrated Algebra Regents Exam.

Related:  Typical undergrad ‘could not write a paper or solve an algebra problem’

Related:  36% of college students take remedial class


*  Graduation rate: Percentage of enrollment graduating in four years (not counting summer school)

**  APM: the new Aspirational Performance Measure is the percentage of students who graduated on time and scored at least 80 in Regents math and at least 75 on Regents English —formerly called “career and college ready” graduates

***  Advanced-designation Regents diplomas: The percent of students who graduated on time with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation (not all districts participate)

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