Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Math Scores Lag, Overall Achievement Sluggish

Last time I checked, NYC was part of NYS.  We aren't doing too great.  The education mayor has not succeeded.  He needs a U rating and a trip to the rubber room.

Math scores drop for NY fourth-graders
November 1, 2011 by JOHN HILDEBRAND /

Portrait of children raising hands in classroom.
New York is 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 inNew York dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago, federal officials reported Tuesday in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
This marked the first time since 1992 thatNew York's performance in fourth-grade math has fallen below the national average in the assessment. 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 level, and more recently state-by-state.
In another blow to New York, the chairman of the NAEP's Governing Board Tuesday singled out the state, along with Iowa andWest Virginia, as places where overall academic progress has been particularly sluggish -- both in reading and math -- during the past eight years. The board is a bipartisan panel appointed by the U.S. education secretary to oversee testing policy.
David Driscoll, the Governing Board chief who also is a former Massachusetts education commissioner, observed at a Washington news conference that the three states have "stood virtually still" since 2003 in percentages of students attaining proficiency on fourth- and eighth-grade tests.
Most other states since 2003 have shown substantial improvement in fourth- and eighth-grade math, and more modest gains in reading. In the 2011 round of testing, national scores rose significantly in fourth-grade and eighth-grade math and in eighth-grade reading. National results in fourth-grade reading remained flat.
New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. called the results "disappointing and unacceptable." He added that a new Common Core curriculum, slated for statewide phase-in during the next school year, 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.
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 that New York has made considerable efforts to boost scholastic achievement. He suggested, however, that his own state of Massachusetts has 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."
Jack Bierwirth, superintendent of Herricks schools and an expert on testing issues, agreed that Massachusetts has set the pace among states in terms of rigorous assessments. Bierwirth added that New York needs to redouble its efforts to help failing students.
"We have some of the highest-achieving students, and we also have some of the lowest," said Bierwirth, who serves on state-level panels dealing with assessments. "And I think it's unconscionable that we have so many kids at the margin."
NAEP's math assessment was administered to a representative sample of 209,000 fourth-graders and 175,200 eighth-graders across the country. In reading, a representative sample of 213,100 fourth-graders and 168,200 eighth-graders participated.
The organization does not make public the districts where students are tested.
New York State racked up solid gains on most NAEP tests through 2007, but then the momentum slowed.
In more recent years, state school officials have conceded that the cutoff scores they set for students to reach the so-called proficiency level had dropped too low to keep pace with federal standards. Those cutoffs were raised in July 2010.


Schoolgal said...

About 10 years ago "Math" was the all important focus of NYC schools. We had to use 20 minutes a day focusing on math which included a Problem of the Day.
Math scores went up (but the tests were easy) and all was forgotten.

This downfall arose when the city decided to change the math curriculum to Trailblazers and then EveryDay Math. Both were horrible. Those schools with good scores were allowed to choose their curriculum, and my school dumped the program.

The DoE has to stop thinking about what textbook company to make rich and ask teachers how math should be handled. Teachers will be the first to tell you that you cannot take skills out of the equation (no pun intended).

Same with ELA when spelling and grammar were taking out of the equation--thanks to Columbia. Remember "invented spelling"? Who was the idiot that thought that up??

I also hated it when we had to teach addition and multiplication using some new f-ing kind of method. It drove the parents crazy because they didn't understand it and couldn't help their kids.

Cara Boutkids said...

Are the students allowed to use calculators (or not) on these tests NY so badly failed?!

Pissedoffteacher said...

I don't know. I don't teach elementary school.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I first graduated from graduate school. I subbed in my mother's elementary school and they use Everyday Mathematics.

My mother's class and the class that I subbed for were in the same 37 1/2 extended time together. This is when I first learned the 'lattice approach' (it is supposed to be a 3 grade concept) University of Chicago wants students to learn multiplication.

My mother said to think of the lattice approach as a punnet square from chemistry class.

So now children are learning how to multiply in a punnet square? What happened to the multiplication is supposed to be taught? It is NOT necessary to reinvent the wheel for something that is more complex.

Do NOT EVEN get me started on the elementary math program Investigations/TERC. This program is much worse than Everyday Mathematics.

These programs will explain why middle and high school students are not coming in with the basic skills for math classes.

Cara Boutkids said...

I couldn't agree more, S.G.T. While Everyday Math could possibly work with some gifted math students (the critical thinking portions intrigued my daughter), the school district in which I worked (very few truly "gifted" students in each grade; more were below average, plus many ELL/BL students, plus overall low-income population)bought--w/o, of course, asking the math teachers--the whole U of C Math Program lock, stock & barrel. Of course, most of the teachers dug out the old math texts within a period of 3 months!
(After having spent all that money, the program was scrapped by the next school year.)
Lattice multiplication, indeed!
We might as well have given them calculators!!!

Anonymous said...

The sad news:

Many districts from outside the city are jumping on the Investigations/TERC bandwagon. For some reason, they have to emulate what goes on in NYC- another scary concept~!