Monday, November 17, 2014

Projection: Poor Student Performance on SBAC in 2015

Here is one from the "No Duh" files: An article on Education Week, Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests, is "projecting that more than half of students will fall short" of proficient on the SBAC. In mathematics it appears as though this dire prediction is actually optimistic!

Check out the infographic below. Scroll down to the Projected Student Performance section for mathematics and click through each of the grade levels 3 through 8 and 11. Third grade is predicted to be the least "stinky" with 39% of our students projected to pass the test. Eighth grade is predicted to have the lowest percentage of students passing with 32%.

This is not a bad thing!

The whole purpose of Common Core is to improve the focus, rigor, and coherence of our math standards, and to make our students college and career ready. This necessarily involves ratcheting up the level of our testing, thereby resulting in low scores. I agree with a minor statement in the article that "the transitional stress of lower scores is justified by powerful payoffs".

What are the powerful payoffs? Students who are graduating high school college and career ready. Far fewer students will enter college needing to take a series of non-credit bearing remedial math courses before finally earning math credits.

The trick is how do we use the testing as a productive tool for measuring our progress toward the end-goal rather than as a tool for beating down students and teachers? (At least California is not even close to considering using the test scores as part of teacher evaluations...take that New York!)

Let us brace ourselves for the results that are likely to come in June, but also resolve ourselves to use the data to grow.