An education consultant said on Sunday that a crisis is brewing in New York public schools where the number of eighth graders failing math exams has tripled since the state started administering Common Core tests.
The number of students who failed eighth grade math exams went from 14,000 in 2012 to 44,483 most recently.
“I think you have a storm warning,” David Rubel, a consultant for city parochial schools told the New York Post. “That’s a huge number of kids not on track to graduate.”
Those statistics are cited at the conclusion of an article about how New York high school students are passing tests, not because of increased knowledge but because the bar has been repeatedly set lower to get desired results.
“It’s a tough test—but not so tough to pass,” the Post reported. “New York high-schoolers who took the Regents Common Core Algebra I exam this month had to earn just 27 of 86 points, or 31.4 percent, to pass.”
“On the Regents grading scale, that gives them a minimum passing score of 65,” the Post reported. “The required number of right answers remains at its lowest level since the exam—which kids must pass to graduate—was introduced three years ago, records show.”
This manipulation of passing grades is “aimed at raising the overall pass rate,” according to the Post.
In August 2014, 31 points, or 36 percent was a passing mark, with last year’s cutoff at 30 points, or 34.9 percent.
“As a result, 72 percent of students statewide passed the exam last year, back to the pre-Common Core level in the 2013-2014 school year,” the Post reported. “The pass rate had plunged to 63 percent in 2014-2015, when the harder exam was launched.”
Aaron Pallas, chairman of education policy and social analysis at Columbia’s Teachers College, said these standards are a “political decision.”
“Officials want a challenging test but a scoring system that doesn’t knock down the graduation rate—and outrage parents,” the Post noted.
“Cutoff scores have been manipulated to produce politically desirable results in many jurisdictions,” Bob Schaeffer, public education director for the national watchdog FairTest, told the Post.