On the same topic of the previous post we see yet another narrow evaluation of the harmful effects of testing. This piece does a nice job of connecting testing to college-readiness but fails to highlight that even if the regents exams were to be "rigorous" and maybe a good comparison would be to say that they were "rigorously comparable" to the ACT or SAT exams WE KNOW that how a student performs on the test DOES NOT determine their degree of knowledge in core subject areas and is NOT a predictor of college performance.
To make the test better, which is the solution proposed by some, will not mean that students learn more and/or are any better prepared to do well in college. We need to give our youth opportunities to demonstrate what they know and be more holistically assessed. We need to stop reducing achievement and student preparedness to one single test-based indicator. These things really need to be part of our discussions surrounding what it means to be college ready since it's the direction Texas is already headed and where we're going nationally.
By Meredith Kolodner and Rachel Monahan | Daily News Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 8th 2009
Some of the state-mandated Regents tests have been dumbed down in the past eight years, experts say, and many students' SAT scores leave them unprepared for college.
"Unless you were in an AP [Advanced Placement] course or an honors class, they didn't prepare you for college," said Rianna Moustapha, 18, who graduated from Leon M. Goldstein High School in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, last year.
Moustapha, a sophomore at Brooklyn College, said she was taught only to pass the Regents.
Teachers complain the tests have become less comprehensive and rigorous.
"We could be doing a lot better," said Saul Cohen, a former Queens College president, who heads the state Regents committee charged with looking at state standards.
"The complaints we get from higher ed people over and over [are that] most youngsters are not well-prepared for college - unless, of course, they've taken APs or international baccalaureates."
In 2002, a student could pass the math Regents exam by getting about 61% of the questions right. This year, that number dropped to 42%.
"The exams are now virtually meaningless as measures of mathematical knowledge or preparedness," said Steve Koss, a former New York City math teacher who is completing a study of state math exams.
"The Regents have committed to doing whatever it takes to meet the President's standard for college readiness," said state Education Department spokesman Tom Dunn.
"This will include a thorough review of the learning standards, the core curricula and the state assessments."
The national average on each section of the SAT tests has hovered at about 500 - of a perfect 800 points - for several years.
Last year, only 10% of city schools averaged above 500 in math and 7% did so in reading and writing.
At the same time, more than half of city schools' average SAT scores were below 400. A score of 200 is awarded just for showing up.
The city Education Department points to increases among those scoring higher than 600 on the SATs and the drop in the percentage of students entering the City University of New York system who must take remedial classes - 51% last year, down from 59% in 2002 - as evidence of achievement.
"The data suggests that more kids are graduating," spokesman Andrew Jacob said. "But a higher percentage are ready for college-level work."
Nonetheless, of the 56% of city students who graduate from high school, many report trouble at college.
"It's like we had to memorize, but not learn," said Jordan Woodward, 19, a Brooklyn College sophomore who graduated last year from Bedford Academy with an advanced Regents diploma and an A-minus average.
"It kind of hit me in October of my first semester when I was getting my exams back, and the grades weren't very good.
"In high school, I didn't really have to study," said Woodward, who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. "I've gotten a lot of help from my academic adviser, and I'm doing better. It's a work in progress."