The state Education Department is warning that test scores for students in third through eight grade will be significantly lower than last year because of tougher, new standards.
The test results for the 2012-13 school year, which ended in June, are set to be released Wednesday morning. Schools were notified Monday of the results.
“People are discouraged about what they have seen for their schools and their districts and concerned about how they will be interpreted,” said Robert Lowry, deputy director of the state Council of School Superintendents.
Third-through eighth-graders took assessments in April based on a new, more challenging curriculum, called the Common Core. Schools and teachers warned that they didn’t have enough time or the materials to prepare students for the language arts and mathematics exams. Parents also protested the hastiness of the exams, as well as the increased reliance of standardized testing to grade students’ performance.
The tests will also be used, in part, on new teacher evaluations.
State Education Commissioner John King wrote a memo to superintendents Friday stressing that the first year of the exams shouldn’t be determinant in teacher evaluations. He said that while the scores will be lower, they will act as a baseline for future years.
“Districts should take into consideration that 2012-13 is the first year student progress was assessed against new and more rigorous learning standards,” King wrote. “Information gathered from each measure of educator effectiveness should be used judiciously when employment decisions are made.”
The New York State United Teachers union said it was hopeful that the results won’t be used punitively against teachers or students.
“The results are going to serve as a baseline to inform instruction going forward,” said NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn. “What we hope is that the scores serve as a reminder that standardized testing has limitations and that the results are used thoughtfully, judiciously and in context for students and teachers.”
Here’s King’s memo: