The PARCC Test: Exposed The author of this blog posting is a public school teacher who will remain anonymous. I will not reveal my district or my role due to the intense legal ramifications for exercising my Constitutional First Amendment rights in a public forum. I was compelled to sign a security form that stated […]
Below are a series of questions take verbatim from the January 23, 2002 Global Studies RCT and the June 17, 2015 Global History & Geography Regents.
See if you can tell which is which….
1 ) What was an immediate result of the Black Death?
(1) labor shortages
(2) overseas exploration
(3) decrease in anti-Semitism
(4) improvements in medical science
2) What is an effect of European imperialism in Africa?
(1) Many African nations were created without regard for ethnic boundaries
(2) The influence of Christianity declined throughout Africa
(3) All racial discrimination ended in Africa
(4) A single, unified economy was established throughout Africa
3) The building of the Great Wall of China and the Boxer Rebellion were similar because they both
(1) resulted from a fear of foreign influences
(2) expanded Chinese territory
(3) brought more power to the Chinese war-lords
(4) increased the technological development of China
4) What was a major result of the Protestant Reformation?
(1) Religious unity in western Europe ended
(2) The power of the Catholic Church in Europe increased
(3) Islam became the predominant religion in Europe.
(4) The pope was no longer the head of the Catholic Church
5) During World War I, developments in military technology led to
(1) an early victory by the Allied powers
(2) the establishment of industrial capitalism
(3) the use of poisonous gas and submarine attacks
(4) an increase in ethnic tension in western Europe
6) The code of the samurai in medieval Japan and the code of chivalry in medieval Europe were part of which system?
7) The growth of early civilizations in the Indus River valley and along the Nile River shows that the development of civilizations was influenced by
(1) the political needs of the people
(2) the desire of the people to live in cities
(3) geographic factors
(4) religious practices
8) Since the economies of many Carribbean nations depend on cash crops, these economies are greatly affected by
(1) terrorist actions
(2) changing market prices
(3) foreign imperialism
(4) labor union activity
9) After achieving independence in 1947, India adopted a foreign policy of
(1) collective security
10) One major reason the League of Nations failed was that it
(1) was not included in the Versailles Treaty
(2) was controlled by communist Russia
(3) frightened many nations with its large military force
(4) lacked the support of many of the major world powers during crises
11) Which geographic feature served as a barrier to political unity and encouraged the rise of independent city-states in ancient Greece?
(1) broad plains
(2) mountain ranges
(3) navigable rivers
(4) numerous ports
- What are the consequences of the New York State Board of Regents decision to eliminate the Local High School Diploma option and limit all New York High School graduates to a Regents Diploma?
There is a local diploma. I cannot emphasize this enough. At the Board of Regents meeting in January, the Regents raised the issue of parents demanding that a local diploma be reinstated and Commissioner Elia said there is a local diploma and framed it as a communication issue and blamed guidance counselors.
There is a local diploma option and it is available to General Education, English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities. The issue is that the local diploma is tied to five Regents Exams. The local diploma is available to students who ‘fail’ the Regents exams in the right way.
I asked one of the teachers in my school district, Brewster in Putnam County, for a status of the students in my district. We have an excellent reputation for our special education department. One example: USH failed 7 times, Living Environment, passed on the 5th try, Integrated Algebra failed 3 times, ELA failed 7 times, never attempted global history. 5 exams, 22 attempts to get through them before dropping out of school. This story is repeated over and over across the state. I would like to know why tenacity is not considered an important component of being ready to take on a full time job.
- Do you think the use of portfolio based assessments and/or the addition of multiple pathways to graduation would be helpful to both special education and general education students?
Commissioner Elia explained her solution of Project-Based Assessments as computer based testing and competency based education with “scoring by trained evaluators based on a scoring rubric established by the State”.
Are we going to continue to turn our childrens’ entire future over to $12 an hour test scorers recruited on Craigslist?
Will our students have their educational experience reduced to the equivalent of leveling up in Super Mario Brothers or Call of Duty video game?
Further, the Regents exams can only capture about 15% of the total standards in any one exam. Project based assessment could potentially mean testing on every single standard. Think about that. A student with a learning disability potentially having their every ability data-mined. That is a dystopian future for our children. 1984, Brave New World, every education based key stroke tracked.
Today, for the Board of Regents and NYSED, Multiple Pathways means more testing. It should not be another written exam. Students at Automotive High School should be assessed on their ability to repair cars, use business software and understand how to run a business. Of course they should be exposed to history, art, civics, science, literature and math. But the standard for a student should be mechanical ability, not five Regents exams, or a written exam in some other area.
The Board of Regents established a Blue Ribbon Panel to determine appropriate exit exams for Art. After a year, they came up with AP Art. AP Art? How is a written exam in Art a pathway to a career in Art?
Multiple pathways should not be written exams. Further, multiple pathways to a diploma had existed for decades in NYS and earning a diploma has never been ‘too’ easy. All of this started because of the myth that schools are just handing out diplomas. If public schools were just handing out diplomas, why was the graduation rate always been around 70%?
- How has the ability for students to participate in BOCES, career, and technical education programs been impacted by the requirement that every student obtain a Regents Diploma?
I know students who have been placed in Algebra 1 for three periods a day for two years to prepare them for the Algebra 1 Regents. The narrative is that we want to avoid tracking, but that certainly sounds like tracking to me. For these students, they lose time working on the required credits in other areas, which impacts their access to BOCES.
Students who fail a Regents in one subject are mandated into AIS or Academic Intervention Services.
A student in 9th grade who fails the Algebra 1 and Science Regents are now mandated into AIS for these two classes in 10th grade. 10th grade is now 2 math classes, 2 science classes, 1 global history, 1 ELA, 1 LOTE/Art credit and .5 PE .5 Health for 8 class periods.
If the student fails these Regents again, in August, January and June and fails the Global History Regents then 11th grade is 2 Math (1 AIS), 1 Science AIS, 1 Global History AIS, 1 ELA, 1 US History and .5 PE. 7.5 classes does not allow time for BOCES.
I would also like to point out that these students very often end up with back to back exams on the same day, up to 12 hours of testing with extending time. There has been a bill sitting in the Education committee for 10 years to prevent students with extended time from having to take two Regents exams on the same day. It is A5270. Let me repeat that, it is A5270 The Senate version is S1501, S1501. I have emailed all of you about this at some point
4a. What is the best way for providing special education students with a high schooldiploma? Should the Regents Competency Tests (RCTs) be reinstated?
There is no one best way which is why the local diploma option should not be tied to testing and should be restored to some level of local control. Yes, there should be 22 credits and there should be high expectations, students should not just be passed along. But having an entire school district invested in students passing an exam does not prepare the student for what is next in life.
30+ years ago, when I took the Regents exams, it was the student’s problem to pass, not the school’s or the teacher’s. Students had to learn how to study, organize notes and work on material for a year to pass a Regents exam or final exam. There was no review or practice. That is how students became college and career ready, by taking ownership of their education and of their futures.
Students should work on projects, have access to business math, write research papers or do research projects in another medium. Students should have a varied and rich educational experience. That is what will prepare them for the next steps in life.
4b. Should the Regents Competency Tests be reinstated?
RCTs are still available until 2017 for the 2010 cohort and it would be great if that could be extended to the students who are currently in the test and punish cycle as an immediate solution. But the RCT model forced double testing on students with disabilities, and it is time we end the test and punish cycle.
My recommendation would be to reduce the number of Regents exams for students on a local diploma pathway to the three subject areas mandated by the federal government and ESSA. ELA, Math and Science. And decouple the final grade results from the graduation requirements. A real portfolio based assessment would be acceptable, but computer based / competency based testing is not. The truth is, you cannot use bureaucracy to make the best decisions for a student. You cannot educate a student from 100 miles away. We need to restore local control and trust our parents, our teachers and our principals to make proper assessments for the students that are in front of them.
The Regents exams have lost all meaning despite NYSED congratulating themselves on raising standards. The Regents used to be, way back in my day, based on 100 points with 65 as passing. Today, the cut scores are manipulated to keep the passing rate flat, or slightly higher so that NYSED can use their manipulated statistics to support their narrative. Today, 30 or 35% of 85 is the new 65 or passing. How exactly is 30 to 35 as passing a high standard?
In fact, NYSED could do us all a favor and move the cut score to 10 as the new 65 and we can all go home.
Below are the collective thoughts of concerned parents in NYS on the options addressed in the memo on Enhanced Pathways to Graduation.
This is the final text of the petition.
We, the dedicated parents of New York State public high school students, joined by concerned citizens of New York State, being voters and tax payers here in New York State, hereby declare that our high school aged children have been harmed, and continue to be harmed, by the Common Core Reform Agenda. We further declare that the NYS Board of Regents, NYSED, and the NYS Legislature have acted negligently and with dereliction toward our high school aged children – the student population with the most onerous graduation requirements — by failing to acknowledge, evaluate, and cure the education havoc that the Common Core Reform Agenda has inflicted and continues to inflict on these children. As such, we demand that such negligence and inattention cease immediately, and that the NYS Board of Regents, NYSED, and NYS Legislature take immediate steps to focus on our high school aged children, as it has on our grades 3-8 children over the past few years, as evidenced by the Governor’s recent Common Core Task Force hearings, report, and recommendations; various statutes passed and regulations promulgated; etc. To wit (in no particular order of importance):
* Restore the credibility, reliability, and validity of the three NYS math Regents Exams;
* Remove the high-stakes of having to pass a Common Core-aligned NYS math Regents Exam as a graduation requirement;
* Restore the substantive Trigonometry components of the former NYS Learning Standards;
* Ensure that the Common Core-aligned NYS Learning Standards are comprised of math standards that promote and ensure proper sequential and linear math instruction; and
* Ensure that colleges and universities in the SUNY system provide correct information to the public regarding the various math prerequisites required for the application process and admissions.
We are outraged at the severe educational reforms and swings to which our children have been subjected ever since Common Core was implemented here in New York State. Four years of these damaging reforms have wreaked havoc on, and harmed, an entire generation of NYS public school children. The past two years, in particular, have seen harm done to children in our public high schools, as they have been subjected to convoluted and out-of-sequence math curricula, and flawed Common Core-aligned math Regents Exams, with the result being increased numbers of failures and severely degraded GPAs. See, for example: hohttp://insidescols.org/blog/item/1001012-students-caught-in-algebra-whirlpool-says-report?tmpl=component&print=1
We demand that these education reforms be halted immediately, and that immediate attention be given to correcting/reversing these damaging changes that will assuredly continue to cripple our children’s chances of obtaining entrance to college and, beyond that, their chosen careers.
We demand that the high school level Mathematics standards be critically reviewed and revised immediately, by qualified NYS educators who possess no less than ten (10) years of relevant classroom teaching experience. College professors should be invited to provide input on issues of remediation in mathematics, and the skills that high school students will require for college readiness. There should be NO input from corporations or “experts” who do not have actual classroom experience.
We demand that the three (3) mathematics NYS Regents Exams immediately cease to be aligned to the Common Core, as such HAS resulted in flawed and poorly designed exams. The integrity of the Regents Exams should be restored to fair tests with proven test questions and clearly dictated standards to be met at each of the three (3) exam levels.
We demand an immediate end to the politically-motivated manipulation of cut scores on all NYS tests, including the grades 3-8 state assessments and all NYS Regents Exams, as this has rendered as meaningless the entire purpose of taking the exams. Approximately one-third (1/3) of all NYS 8th graders met proficiency on the 8th grade 2015 NYS math assessment. These same 8th graders are now expected to meet proficiency on the NYS 9th grade Common Core-aligned Algebra 1 Regents Exam or risk not being able to graduate. It is unacceptable when NYSED manipulates cut scores either to prove that students are not meeting proficiency, or to prevent students from failing a high-stakes math test required for graduation.
We demand the immediate restoration of the 100-point Regents Exam for math, as well as the immediate end to cut scores where a score of 35 equals a passing score of 65, yet higher scores are curved downward. This latter point (higher scores curved downward) is especially detrimental to children in districts that incorporate Regents Exam scores into a child’s GPA.
We demand that NYS Regents Exams cease to be high-stakes exit exams for our children. The USDOE is very clear that using mandated exams at the high school level is a state decision. Students outside of NYS are regularly accepted to NYS colleges/universities without having to meet the burden that OUR children have of passing five (5) Regents Exams in order to graduate and earn a diploma, in addition to passing three (3) Regents Exams in mathematics. This requirement unfairly pits NYS students/residents against competition from outside of the State.
We demand that the NYS Board of Regents meet immediately, and seriously discuss and address, the issues facing our high school students: the changes in the former Algebra 2/Trig
course to the Common Core-aligned Algebra 2 course, and associated problems/issues; the arbitrary changes to our students’ mathematics Regents Exams in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, and resulting skewed cut scores and meaningless results; and more:
o There are wild variations from district to district in how Common Core-aligned Algebra 2 is being taught. Some districts are using error-riddled textbooks, others are using error-riddled modules, others have designed their own curriculum and, finally, a few districts are still teaching the old Algebra2/Trig course because they assumed the Regents would again approve the giving of both Regents Exams. This inconsistency is patently unfair and is due strictly to the haphazard and poor planning of the Board of Regents and NYSED, and the lack of foresight that these changes have had/are having on our children’s futures.
o By contrast to the former NYS Learning Standards, the arithmetic and mathematics standards under the Common Core are disjointed and out of sequence/order; arithmetic and mathematics are no longer being taught in a sequential and linear way across all grades. This becomes particularly problematic at the high school level as our students are not being properly prepared for college level mathematics, nor are they building a strong foundation in mathematics. For example, Trigonometry is buried in Geometry standards and in the Function standards. In subtopics, 11th grade math standards have been placed prior to what would have been an 8th grade standard just a few years ago. We expect our students to be taught math following a sequential and linear methodology. See, for example: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-pedagogical-agenda-of-common-core-math-standards/
o We expect the NYS Learning Standards for math to be clearly aligned with the expectations for the relevant Regents Exams. Currently there are six topics in the high school level Common Core math standards. They are Number and Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Modeling, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. There is no clear path from these standards to the high-stakes math Regents Exam material.
o What was formerly over sixty (60) days of Trigonometry instruction has been reduced to just 11 to 20 days of curriculum in Algebra 2, depending upon the school district. 11-20 days of Trigonometry instruction is insufficient; the ACT exams still have Trigonometry, and many college professors agree that paltry amount of Trigonometry is inadequate preparation for college — especially for students pursuing the STEM fields (for which Common Core purportedly was created).
In order to make up for this curriculum deficit in Trigonometry, and understanding that these deficits may/will harm their chances of entering the college/university of their choice, current NYS 11th grade students have been forced to find ways to compensate for what once
was, but is no longer being, taught in school: they are actually taking high school Algebra at community colleges, because THAT is where these students can get real instruction in Algebra 2/Trig. Repeat: high school students are going to community college in order to be able to pass their high school math class, and then to sit for a college entrance exam so that they can enter a 4-year college. This is LUDICROUS. Some school districts have been forced to compensate for this deficit by offering a specific course in Trigonometry. Your decision to alter our children’s Algebra 2 Regents Exam has forced aware NYS parents to seek and pay for outside instruction, and has forced our children to attend yet another class during their already-limited free time in order to obtain the authentic education needed to succeed in their chosen field. Furthermore, despite promises that Common Core will close the achievement gap, it is already documented that the gap is widening. Parents who are aware of the problems with the Common Core curriculum, and who possess the means, have and will find ways to compensate for the shortcomings, whether with community college classes or tutors – thereby further widening the achievement gap.
At present, certain colleges still expect matriculating students to have a solid foundation in Trigonometry. However, reality will hit very soon, and they may be forced to lower their admissions standards in recognition of the deficits of the Common Core standards, and/or may be forced to accept students who have taken only Algebra 2, with no solid understanding of Trigonometry. Woe to the NYS students who will be penalized by Common Core Algebra 2. In the meantime, the guessing game is not one that many NYS parents are willing to play with respect to their children’s futures.
o We anticipate an increase in the need for remediation in math for our high school students. Regents Exams in mathematics have been administered with flawed questions, overly zealous cut scores, and the Common Core math standards are not a true path to college readiness, as stated by Jason Zimba, one of the architects of the Common Core math standards. This truly contradicts the mantra of raising our standards. ftp://math.stanford.edu/pub/papers/milgram/ZimbaMilgramStotskyFinal.pdf
o The NCAA has refused to approve NYS Algebra 2 courses as meeting their standards for college readiness for potential athletes hoping to play in Division 1 or Division 2 college sports. The result has been school districts adding additional courses in Trigonometry, renaming Algebra 2 to something acceptable, or parents seeking proper course work in Algebra 2/Trigonometry at local community colleges.
o In response to parental inquiry, SUNY universities are giving inconsistent information regarding a high school Trigonometry prerequisite. Parents cannot trust an educational system that has not ensured that ALL of our SUNY schools are clear on the expectations for the
graduating class of 2017 and beyond. This year’s 11th grade cohort is now looking at colleges and is receiving confusing and mixed messages from the SUNY system. This is unacceptable.
Prior to Common Core, our high school students received a well-rounded, coherent, high-quality education that met college-level expectations and admissions requirements, did not require our children (and parents) to seek outside instruction in order to compensate for curriculum deficits and gaps, and did not create havoc in, and do harm to, our children’s educational lives. We demand that type of education be restored to our high school students. Anything less is a dereliction of the State’s responsibilities to our children. Our school districts are taking direct action via your lead, and the leadership from the Board of Regents has been haphazard, arbitrary, and deleterious. We expect an immediate halt to, and correction of, the harms listed above, so that our children can experience a proper high school education and be prepared for college and life.