Five years after Common Core, a mysterious spike in failure rate among NY high school students

Jan 14, 2019 by

Potential signs of long-lasting problems for low-achieving students

by Jill Barshay –

Back in 2013, when New York was one of the first states in the nation to adopt Common Core standards and administer tougher tests, children’s test scores initially plummeted. Then, as teachers had time to develop lesson plans and adjust to new curricula, student performance began to improve. A similar pattern seemed to be emerging among the state’s high school students, who are required to pass a series of exams, called Regents, to earn a diploma. After an initial drop in pass rates among eighth and ninth graders on a Common Core algebra exam in 2014-15, scores improved.

But now, after five years of high schools teaching to the Common Core standards (now slightly revamped and called Next Generation Learning Standards in New York), there’s a sudden spike in the high-school failure rate. More than 13,000 more students failed the algebra Regents exam in the most recent 2017-18 school year compared to the previous year, pushing the failure rate up from 25 percent to 30 percent, according to a December 2018 report by education policy consultant David Rubel. In the English Language Arts or reading exam, the number of failing students grew by more than 12,000 students, increasing the failure rate from 16 percent to 21 percent.

“It’s odd that there would be a decline at this point,” said Morgan Polikoff, a professor at the University of Southern California’s school of education and an expert in assessments.  “Most often the trend is that a new exam is implemented, there’s a ‘dip’ in performance. I don’t like calling it a dip because it’s a different test so it’s not really comparable. And then scores gradually increase over time.”

Continued: Five years after Common Core, a mysterious spike in failure rate among NY high school students – The Hechinger Report

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