New York State education officials admitted that state’s exams had become easier during the last four years but the improving of the system of scoring tests will result in thousand students’ fail. Across the state only scores were spoken about and any gains on national exams were taken. David M. Steiner, the education commissioner, wrote in his essay “something strange has happened to our test” and added “The word ‘proficient’ should tell you something, and right now that is not the case on our state tests.”
After the passing rates were trumpeted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg during his re-election campaign, tests began to be criticized as too easy. Having analyzed the scores and compared them with the results obtained from national exams and Regents tests, researchers at Harvard University found that only one of three students who got a passing grade on the state math exam could score enough on the math Regents test in high school to be regarded prepared for college math. They also claimed that New York state exams have become even easier than the national exams. In 2007 there were 36% of all students who received the minimum score to pass the state math tests and in 2009 – only 19%.
Dr. Steiner, who became education commissioner a year ago, said “That is a huge, massive difference”. He claimed that questions repeated year to year with little differences and students have practiced the texts with their teachers. So, the state began to do everything possible to make it more difficult for students to predict the questions through including a broader range of topics on its tests. Although Dr. Steiner refused to say what the passing scores would be for the tests this year, he said that the numbers would be a “major shift.” It is expected that the scores will be released at the end of this month.
Many people do not support the changes as many students who have been preparing for tests are likely to get B, C and even D. However, Chancellor Joel I. Klein in New York City is the adherent of these changes, saying “We’ve said a million times we support higher standards. It will make all of us raise the bar.”