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Test scores released this week

Standardized reading and math test scores for students in grades 3-8 will be released by the State Education Department to schools on Wednesday, although families won't be able to see their child's results until sometime in August.

According to a city Department of Education spokesperson, "it will take a few weeks to upload everything into ARIS Parent Link—the information should be available in early August."

The belated release of the scores -- which are usually sent home with the student's final report card in June -- follows a week in which the state Board of Regents approved scoring changes, which will make it more difficult for a student to score at the "proficient" level on state exams.

An assessment of the exams by testing experts Daniel Koretz and Howard Everson "confirmed that performance standards had become very lenient," Koretz said in a statement issued by the State Education Department.

In June, city principals were stunned to find out that preliminary test scores showed that more than 20,000 students failed to make the cut on the grades 3-8  state exams and were mandated for summer school. Now the city says that if the actual scores show that a student did pass, that student may opt out of the rest of the summer classes.

"If it turns out a student who is attending summer school did meet promotional criteria, his/her family will be notified next week and will have the option of pulling the student out of summer school," a department spokesperson said in an email last Friday.

The Board of Regents ordered the review of the exams after it became clear that students were performing better on state exams than on national tests, called the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

The reviewers also looked at how students' scores on 8th grade exams related to their performance on Regents exams. They found that nearly a quarter of students in New York State colleges required remedial coursework and that those students are less likely to stay in college. Students who score below an 80 on their math Regents are much more likely to take a remedial math course in college, they found.

Until recently, 55 was a passing score on a Regents exam. That is changing, however; 65 became the passing score for students who entered high school in 2008 or later.

In an editorial on Saturday, The Times praised the state for toughening up the passing rates and called for "honest tests. " Today the Daily News cites critics who charge that principals and teachers have been awarded thousands of dollars in bonuses based on "phony" test scores, charges that the city refutes.

Of course, to at least some, the revelation that state exams had become too easy is old news.

We'd like to know what you think about this "testing mess".  Let us know when you get your child's scores and whether they are a surprise. Comment below.

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