For those of you who have seen the testing results for SBAC in Washington State here is some data from New Jersey which uses the sister test called PARCC. Please note that New Jersey, in the 2013-2014 school year, spent ~$19,000 per student which is almost 2x what is spent per student in the Battle Ground School District. This article can be seen in it’s entirety at: True New Jersey
The testing results for Washington State and New Jersey are similar so money may not be the answer. It may be that the testing itself is flawed.
The majority of New Jersey students in grades 3 through 11 failed to meet grade-level expectations on controversial math and English tests the state says provide the most accurate measurement of student performance yet.
New Jersey on Tuesday released the preliminary statewide results of the new online tests, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, revealing that more than half of the students in every grade level failed to meet expectations in math.
Students who took the test last spring also struggled to meet the benchmarks set in English, with no more than 52 percent of students in any grade level meeting expectations, which were set by the consortium of states that participated in PARCC.
New Jersey’s results are similar to the other PARCC states that already released results and also saw most students miss the benchmarks for achievement.
Students receive a score on a scale of one to five. Those receiving a score of 4 or 5 are considered to be performing at their grade level and thereby meeting expectations.
Students who receive a 3 are considered to be approaching expectations, and state officials said many of those students may actually be on track, despite their score.
Overall, the results show that high school graduation requirements are not rigorous enough for most students to be successful after graduation, state Education Commissioner David Hespe said. The 2014-15 results set a new baseline for improving student achievement, he said.
“There is still much work to be done in ensuring all of our students are fully prepared for the 21st century demands of college and career,” Hespe said.
The scores were announced at New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company in Ewing, and representatives from New Jersey colleges spoke about the importance of preparing students for college and beyond.
But state officials also stressed that scores are typically low when a new test is given in the first year. Students do not need to meet expectations on PARCC in order to move to the next grade level or graduate.
“Ultimately, PARCC is just a test,” Hespe said.
The PARCC exams are aligned to the Common Core curriculum standards, which emphasize problem solving and critical thinking. The exams, which debuted in New Jersey and about 10 other states last spring, were perhaps the most controversial in state history.
Critics, including the state’s largest teachers union, questioned the validity of the new tests and bemoaned the time schools spent on test preparation and administration, saying students lost valuable classroom time.
Some parents and students also complained that the tests were overly confusing and questioned whether students were being set up to fail. The backlash led to an “opt-out” movement, and nearly 15 percent of New Jersey high school juniors refused to take the exams.
The New Jersey Education Association, which waged an expensive television advertising campaign against PARCC, said the tests reveal little about student performance.
“Parents and policymakers alike should be very careful about drawing any conclusions from the data released today,” NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer said.
Before the results were announced, parent group Save Our Schools NJ had already deemed the data worthless.
“PARCC results mean absolutely nothing,” the group said in a statement.
Results for individual schools and students will not be released until next month. Student performance on PARCC will count as a 10 percent factor in some teachers evaluations.
New Jersey students scored lower on PARCC than they did on the prior state exams, the New Jersey Assesment of Skills and Knowledge and the High School Proficiency Assessment.
About 66 percent of third through eighth grade students were rated either proficient or advanced in language arts on the 2013-14 NJ ASK exam, and about 74 percent were proficient or advanced in math.
Nearly 85 percent of students who took HSPA in 2013-14 were proficient or advanced in math and 93 were proficient in English.
But state officials said there is no way to compare PARCC scores to prior tests, which were aligned to different academic standards.
“We have to be very careful when we take one test results and compare it to another,” Hespe said.
However, the state did point to other tests that measure career and college readiness and provided similar results for New Jersey students, including the SAT and ACT.
Only 44 percent of students who took the SAT in 2015 met the standards for career and college readiness, Assistant Education Commissioner Bari Erlichson said.