The Common Core standard was put in place to toughen academic testing. These new tests require students to analyze a problem and solve it in a more creative fashion. The scores are finally in and the first year results of the Common Core testing have been less than settling.
In New York City only 26% of students between the third and eighth grade passed the state English exams. 30% of students passed the math, and across New York state, 31% passed both math and english exams. Despite the low test scores, New York City still did better than other major school districts in the state. In Rochester, only 5% of students passed the reading and math examinations.
Last year, when testing was less rigorous, 47% of city students passed the English tests, and 60% passed the math. In 2009, under the less stricter exams, 69% of students passed the English tests, and 82% passed the math.
In an interview with the New York Times, Chrystina Russell, principal of Global Technology Preparatory in East Harlem was afraid of what she’d have to tell parents when the results come in August. In her school, 6.8% of students rated proficiently in English, and 9.5% passed the math. Those scores are way down from last year when 33% passed the English, and 44% passed Math. “Now we’re going to come out and tell everybody that they’ve accomplished nothing this year and we’ve been peddling backward?” Ms. Russell said. “It’s depressing.”
John B. King Jr., the State Education Commissioner, was not worried by the low test scores. He saw them as a new beginning. “These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century,” King said. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers, and principals. It's frustrating to see our children struggle. But we can't allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity.”
One of the bigger problems education officials have with the testing is the gap in scores between black and Hispanic students, and white and Asian students. 16% of black students and 18% of Hispanic students passed the exams, while 40% of white students and 50% of Asian students passed theirs. Another complaint about the Common Core testing was that it was unfair for disadvantaged students. Across New York State, five percent of students with disabilities passed english, and seven percent passed math. Teachers complained that the special-needs students had a hard time getting through the tests because of their length.
New York, Washington D.C., and 45 other states have implemented the rigid Common Core standards. States against the tougher tests are Georgia, Indiana, and Oklahoma.
State Education Commissioner King says the test scores will not affect teachers, students, principals, and school districts negatively.