If you’ve followed by blog at all, actually, if you’ve read two specific previous posts, you will know what this is about. If you haven’t read the two blogs, Double Testing and Double Testing Revisited, this concerns NYS math assessments.
Specifically, NYS has been granted a waiver regarding 7th/8th grade students who take a math Regents and the NYS Common Core math assessment. The idea was that if (in our case) an 8th grade student is enrolled in Regents Algebra, he/she does not have to also take the NYS grade 8 Common Core math assessment. The thought behind this is that Algebra is an accelerated course, so students successfully completing it certainly have the math skills addressed on the grade 8 math assessment. That makes sense.
For a thorough explanation, refer to my blogs, but my concern was that these students would no longer be counted in our school accountability data, which would significantly alter our results and affect teacher’s APPR scores. As an example, if this waiver had been in place last year, our Algebra kids’ assessment scores, they all received a Level IV score, would not have been included in our building’s statistics. This would have dropped our percentage of students earning Level III/IV scores from 55% to 34%! We no longer look like we have the top quality math program that we do, and the apparent strength of our math program is inaccurate.
There’s an easy solution: convert Regents exam scores to equivalent assessment scores. Since this is an accelerated course, Regents scores should translate to proficient scores, for example, a Regents exam score of 65-84 should equal a Level III score and a Regents score of 85-100 should translate to a Level IV score.
The NYSED sent a memo this past February to clarify the scoring. (I swear they read my blog, and my article on the same concern published in the NYS School Boards Association Journal On Board) What they wrote, however, became fodder for my second blog. Their “clarification” was that any student passing a Regents math exam could be exempted from the Common Core assessment and receive “full credit” for the assessment. Well, that would be good if they had defined what “full credit” meant. Of course they did not. So I wrote again about the folly of SED’s thinking and actions.
So now we have yet another clarification from SED, this one in a recently received April memo. We now know what “full credit” means! Yes, they have defined it!! Shouldn’t we all be happy? I know what you’re thinking; if I’m blogging about it again there must be a problem…how right you are!!
So let’s review. The students we’re talking about are taking a Regents exam in an accelerated, high school credit bearing course. The Algebra Regents exam addresses more complex thinking, content and skills than does the grade 8 assessment. A question for you then: let’s say a student aces the Regents, earns a score of 100. Wouldn’t a rational person think that would translate to a Level IV assessment score, the top score on that assessment? I mean, top score on the Algebra Regents, a grade 9 course, should equate to the top score on the grade 8 assessment, shouldn’t it?
But of course not, this is SED we ‘re talking about. Here’s how SED sees the grade conversions:
Regents exam score of 0-64: no credit (they got that piece right!)
Regents exam score of 65-79: Level II
Regents exam score of 80 or higher: Level III score
Are you kidding me? A student who passes the accelerated Algebra Regents exam with a score of 70 earns a failing score on the grade 8 math assessment? Better yet, a student who scores a 92, 96, or even 100 on the accelerated Algebra Regents exam earns a Level III score? In other words, a student taking an accelerated Algebra Regents exam cannot in any way earn a top Level IV score on an assessment based on 8th grade content? Is that rational? Does that make sense? Am I the only one seeing this?
Wow….SED never ceases to amaze, befuddle, disappoint…and that’s not just my perspective.