Lillian Lowery, the Maryland State School Superintendent pointed primarily to the Common Core State Standards as the culprit as to why test scores dropped in Maryland this year.
Via the Baltimore Sun:
The drops in test scores for both elementary and middle schools were seen in nearly every school district and were as great in the higher-performing districts of Howard and Montgomery counties as they were in Baltimore City.
Students did worst in math, with state scores dropping an average of 4 percentage points at both the elementary and middle-school grades. The only increase was seen in middle-school reading, which rose 1.3 percentage points. Elementary school reading also slipped about 2 percentage points.
Maryland State School Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery said that she believed a variety of factors contributed to the decline, chiefly the gradual introduction of new standards called the Common Core…
…New tests that align with the new curriculum still are being developed, so the state is using the old Maryland School Assessment, which was given to 300,000 students in grades three through eight and doesn’t necessarily test what students were taught.
“I do think people were more attuned to the Common Core than the public knew, and that does make for a misalignment between what we are teaching and what we are assessing,” Lowery said.
Low teacher morale in the face of education reforms may also have played a role in lowering test scores, according to Lowery and the state teachers union. In addition to the new curriculum and new tests, a new teacher evaluation system is coming in the next several years.
“I refer to this as the tsunami of ed reform,” said Betty H. Weller, president of the Maryland State Education Association. “On an individual basis teachers are feeling very, very demoralized.”
Read the whole article.
A couple of thoughts here.
Advocates will use dropping test scores as proof that these standards are more “rigorous” (instead of confusing students – especially in math).
Lowery’s comments indicates that curriculum used in the classroom will need to be aligned to the assessments in order to produce better results.
Demonstrates that not every teacher is “happy, happy, rah, rah” about the new standards as some in school district leadership and state educational leadership would have you believe.