A new “common core” system of standardized testing has rolled out in New York public schools; the results are not good. Only 26 percent of students in grades three through eight passed the new common core standardized tests in English, and 30 percent passed in math. Last year, 55 percent of New York students passed the math exam, and 65 percent passed the English exam. These new tests are intended to be more difficult than the former standard school exams, but this level of failure has unsettled parents, teachers, and school boards across the state.
City and state officially predicted test failures around this level, but tried to hide that fact from New Yorkers. It is believed that it will take multiple years for the common core system – and the related standardized tests – to show results. Such beliefs are optimistic at best, and still leave this generation of students to suffer an improper education.
At one school in East Harlem New York, only 6.8 percent of students passed the English exam, and 9.5 percent passed in math – both those numbers were nearly five times lower than last year’s test results.
For those wishing to gain perspective on what the new common core tests are like, the New York Times has created a sample math test, with questions similar in difficulty to those on the real tests. The questions themselves are not comically easy – as some past standardized test questions have been – but they do not seem unreasonable. For reference, I scored an 11 out of 12. The last time I took a math test, it was to score a 1 on the Statistics AP Exam.
More states plan to introduce the common core teaching strategy in the upcoming school year. If similar drops in test scores continue, the common core system itself may be targeted as the problem.