The State Education Department said today that standardized math and reading test scores for grades 3-8 will be released Tuesday, July 17. That's nearly a month earlier than 2011 when test data was released on Aug. 8, with parents able to access their children's scores online on Aug. 17.
This year, test administration in April was marred by errors on the several of the exams resulting in questions being discarded. An 8th-grade exam had a nonsensical story about a talking pineapple that almost no one understood and, in May, teachers were confused about how to score the exams. This was the first year that the testing company Pearson produced the tests. Because of the many mistakes, the state said that Pearson would have to pay for an expert review of its test development process.
Families of 113 children, angry about the emphasis on high-stakes testing, decided to opt out of taking the exam, the New York Times reported, more than in previous years. Many others decided to boycott the field-tests in May and June.
Last week a study by the Independent Budget Office (pdf) showed that children's performance on the standardized exams tends to remain consistent over time. The study followed 46,400 students from the 2005-2006 school year through 2009-2010 as they moved from 3rd grade through 7th grade and found that about 62 percent of them scored in the same proficience level (1-4) as they had in 3rd grade, the first year children are tested. About 30 percent tested at a higher level; 8 percent at a lower level.
Test results in grades 4 and 7 are a determining factor in whether a child will be admitted to a selective middle or high school.