New York State Test Scores Rose Because Common Core Is Working

New York City’s statewide assessment scores are up nearly 7 percent in English and 1 percentage point in math, but contrary to claims in a New York Daily News article, it’s not because the tests got easier or the bar was lowered. While it may be en vogue these days to claim systems are “rigged,” that’s just not the case. A much simpler explanation would be: Common Core standards are working.

Although State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said she wasn’t sure exactly what caused such a big statewide bump, Chalkbeat notes that there is evidence that the “biggest increases in English proficiency were among third-graders, who started their elementary school education with a Common Core curriculum.” As states shifted to new assessments aligned with the standards, officials and experts worked hard to explain why “the new tests would likely cause an immediate drop in scores.” Over time though, they expected teachers and students to adjust and to see an improvement in scores. That’s one reason behind New York City’s improved scores.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s education initiatives and charter school advocates also credited their efforts to help students achieve success. The nonprofit Education Trust noted that the standards and aligned assessments “have been unfairly demonized and used to excuse the failures of our education system.” It’s also worth noting that state officials responded to significant concerns about test length giving students fewer questions to answer but probing more deeply into their knowledge base.

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña commended students, educators and parents while a state Dept. of Education official made clear that, “This year’s tests were just as rigorous as those in the past.”

Rather than manufacturing conspiracy theories, the Collaborative for Student Success would like to congratulate all the teachers, parents, and students for their hard work and impressive assessment results.