Demystifying the SHSAT

The Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) has been all over the news of late. What is this magical, mystical SHSAT test that evokes such strong emotions? Bring your questions and queries to PASSNYC's community information event on Monday, September 24 from 6-8 pm where there will be experts who can share information about the SHSAT and Columbia Secondary School testing for parents.

There will also be information on FREE Online Test Prep Services for students. Best of all, light refreshments will be served!

Please register and let us know if you'll be coming. This is an invaluable event that shouldn't be missed.

2013 NYS ELA and Math Test Results Released

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The results for the 2013 New York State tests for ELA and math in grades 3 through 8 are out and the sky is falling.  This year's test is brand new so comparisons to last year's results can't be done.   New York is the only state in the country to use new common core tests, tests aligned to the common core standards.  This is significant because curriculum based on the standards have not been developed yet.  See where this is going?

Let's review - We have results from brand new tests based on brand new standards without complete curriculum.  What could go wrong?

Before the tests were even administered the DOE started a big PR campaign to set expectations of much lower scores than past  years.  In fact, Commissioner John King predicted that the number of students deemed proficient would likely fall by 30 points.

He did not disappoint.  Headlines from across the country chronicle the dismal results.  Samples of test items were released along with the scores for all to see.

As parents, what do we tell our kids?  Carol Burris, New York's 2013 High School Principal of the year writes:

...my advice to parents is this. Remember that these tests are hardly a measure of your child’s value or promise as a student. Be outraged if she is now labeled “below proficient” based on tests that were designed to have scores drop like a stone.  Your conversations with your child’s teacher or principal can give you far better insights into her academic and (just as importantly) social and emotional growth.

Full article here.

We're about to start another school year with these test results used as a benchmark.  Parents, we need to speak out and not settle for this corporate led, fast food, test driven version of education that we are being fed.  We have the power to make change.  What will you do?

Here's a round-up of other articles commenting on the test results.

Walcott: Common Core test results are about the future of our children, not adults (NY Daily News Opinion)

Chapman: Timeline for recovery of New York's reading, math scores uncertain as Common Core tests roll out (NY Daily News)

Mulgrew: Poor test results show Common Core curriculum was rushed (NY Daily News Opinion)

Failing kids – and voters (NY Daily News Editorial)

A test of honesty (NY Post Editorial)

Painful but necessary process (NY Post Opinion)

Punishing kids for adult failures (NY Daily News Opinion)

Musiowsky-Borneman: Teachers will have their work cut out for them as they prepare students for Common Core tests (NY Daily News Opinion)

Parent: Bloomberg's obsession with state tests should not replace real teaching, next mayor must make change (NY Daily News Opinion)

Goldstein: Common Core tests are not the answer in child-centered education (NY Daily News Opinion)

Less than one-third of city elementary-school students pass statewide tests (NY Post)

Charter schools and public schools equally showed poor testing performance (NY Daily News)

New York’s Common Core Test Scores (NY Times Editorial)

Test Scores Sink as New York Adopts Tougher Benchmarks (NY Times)

State Officials Release New Test Score Data, Proficiency Drops (WSJ)

At test score presentations, NYC celebrates, state stays sober (GothamSchools)

Test scores fall sharply statewide, but NYC fares relatively well (GothamSchools)

Educators Debate Stark Decline in Test Scores (WNYC/SchoolBook)

Fewer than One Third of New York City Students Pass State Tests (WNYC/SchoolBook)

City Students' Math And English Scores Dip (NY1)

Standardized Test Scores In New York Drop As Expected (CBS New York)

New York Standardized Test Scores Plunge Under New Learning Standards (NBC New York)

Student test scores plummet (Fox New York)

City kids not making the grade: Test scores plunge amid toughened standards (NY Post)

City students' scores take dramatic plunge after new standardized tests (NY Daily News)

Shock, suggestions, and silver linings in test score reactions (GothamSchools)

Facing Lower Test Scores Bloomberg Administration Takes Long View (WNYC/SchoolBook)

Chart How Your School Performed on State Tests (WNYC/SchoolBook)

Four big questions to ask about New York City’s new test scores (GothamSchools)

What N.Y. students actually had to do to pass the math tests (GothamSchools)

More than Half of City Kids Failed State's Harder Math and Reading Tests (DNAinfo)

 

 

NYS 2012 ELA & Math Test Results Released Today

The NYC Public Schools 2012 test scores for ELA & Math in Grades 3-8 were released today.  The complete data available here

Summary by school district and individual school results here
For Harlem and Upper Manhattan:
District 3 pgs 751-757
District 4 pgs 758-783
District 5 pgs 784-801
District 6 pgs 802-816

Recap of 2011 Education Events

Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to a year full of growth and lots of relevant educations information for our fellow parents in 2012.  We've been busy working on updating the site with new features to help you with your school search that will be rolled out soon.  In the meantime, we'll continue to update our calendar events and education news.

Here is great recap of the best and worst education events of 2011 from Leonie Haimson at NYC Public School Parent.

Anything to add?  Let us know in comments below.

 

Applying to Schools? Then Come to Our School Information and Networking Night

'Tis the Season...the school application season...and everyone is talking about schools -- at the playground, on anonymous online message boards, at the supermarket-- but are you talking to the right people and are you getting the right information?

  • How do you know what the right school is?  What do you really need to know about tours, play dates, thank you notes, lottery schools, testing, etc.?
  • Financial aid for private schools – is it real?

We have done the research for you and have put together a group of parent experts from the schools that you want to attend, who are ready to share their experiences.  Let’s Talk Schools is having a social mixer, to provide parents applying to schools an opportunity to connect with other parents in an informal setting to 'talk schools’ with each other.

Come mix and mingle at our School Information Speed Date Night with parents that will give you the real, unedited scoop on schools and answer your questions live, one-on- one.  Our Parent Experts have knowledge of ongoing schools*, experience of successfully completing the application process and they don’t mind talking about schools all night long!

Come join our conversation.

*Schools represented include the following:-

  • Fieldston Lower / Dalton / Trevor Day / Riverdale Country /
  • Bank Street / Columbia Grammar & Prep / St Hilda’s and St Hughe’s / Spence
  • NEST+m / PS 166 G&T / Hunter /PS 180 /Manhattan School for Children / Ascension
  • New York French-American Charter School / Upper Westside Success Academy
  • Weekday Preschool / Claremont (now MontClare) / Twin Parks Schools – Riverside, Central Park and Park West Montessori
* Final list of schools subject to change

NYC Test Scores for 2010-2011 School Year

Overall test scores for the 2010-2011 school have been released and are available here.  You can find out your child's individual score by signing in to ARIS and entering their OSIS number.

Students scores need to be at Level 3 or higher in order to be grade level proficient.

Performance Level Label
Level 1 Below Standard
Level 2 Meets Basic Standard
Level 3 Meets Proficiency Standard
Level 4 Exceeds Proficiency Standard

Overall, 43.9 percent of city students in grades 3-8 reading and 57.3 percent in math met the standards.

Full House at our First Ever Admissions Panel

We had a full house at our first ever private schools admission panel in Harlem last night.  Thank you to everyone who attended.

The discussion got started with tips on how to research and organize your schools and moved into testing, applications, interviews and financial aid.  By all accounts the evening was filled with helpful, informative conversation with admission directors, faculty and parents from NYC independent schools and Hunter College Elementary.

Here's what some members of our audience had to say:

"People were very helpful in sharing personal experiences"

"The entire event was very informative.  Every aspect of the process was detailed"

"Every question and answer was useful and the speakers helped alleviate some of the intensity surrounding this process."

"I really felt all of the panelists were interested in helping/informing"

A lot was discussed but there is a lot more that can and needs to be discussed.  Keep checking back here for additional events around this and other topics.

Best of luck to those who will be applying this admission season.  I'll leave you with a few things to consider along the way:

1. Most people apply for 8-10 schools

2. Between parent tours, parent interviews and child playdates, there will be 24-30 visits to these schools during a three month period

3. Including a modest 30 minute travel time, working parents will miss 56-65 hours of work during this time (not including time to complete applications and other required paperwork)

I can't stress enough the need to be organized and to plan.  See our AdmissionTimeline handout for an overview of the process.

Were you there?  Please provide your feedback on the event.

 

Education News For Week Ending July 31, 2010

Education news this week has been breaking at a dizzying pace.  This interview with on Democracy Now with Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at NYU, New York University, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Leonie Haimson, a public school parent and executive director of Class Size Matters, is well worth a read.  Here are some highlights: Continue reading "Education News For Week Ending July 31, 2010"

NY State ELA and Math Test Scores – What Do They Mean?

The New York State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math test scores for the 2009-2010 school year have been released.  The document is rather larger so here are the relevant sections for the schools in Harlem and Upper Manhattan:

District 3 - pgs. 622-639

District 4 - pgs. 640-654

District 5 - pgs. 655-670

District 6 - pgs. 671-684

Before we get into any of the commentary about the results (and there's plenty already), let's go over what these levels mean.   Continue reading "NY State ELA and Math Test Scores – What Do They Mean?"

Testing, Testing

If you've been reading (and I know you have been), you'll see that the Board of Ed has announced launched the gifted and talented testing program for the 2010/2011 school year for students entering kindergarden and the primary grades.  This testing is not mandatory, it's only for parents who want their children to qualify for one of the gifted and talented program.  Starting this year, for the first time, the city is choosing to enforce an old law on the books that says all students in publicly funded pre-k programs must be tested for developmental disabilities.  That's right, if your child is in a universal pre-k program in public school, he/she WILL be tested.

I am not crazy about all of this testing of the youngest ones in school and there are some in education who feel the same way.  As this NY1 article states, some teachers and program directors are concerned about false positive results.  "You are going to have kids who are just refusing to do these tasks and won't be able to do them as their supposed to according to this assessment, simply because they are fearful.  They may be uncomfortable, they may be hungry.", says Martha Foote of Time Out From Testing.

In the same article, DOE Spokesman William Havemann says about the test, "It will be used for early detection of developmental delays, and for no other purpose.  It will not go in a student's permanent record, and will be used only in pre-kindergarten."

Tell us what you think.   Leave a comment and tell us if your child has been or will be tested and how you feel about the issue.