New York moves to change achievement standards so students don’t feel ‘demoralized’ by failure

Mar 18, 2023 | Political News

The state of New York will reduce their standards for students to achieve “proficiency” in English and math, calling last year's unusually low test results the “new normal.”

As the Times Union reported, the 2021 statewide scores were abysmal, with no eighth graders proficient in math in the city of Schenectady at all. Overall, third-through-eighth grade scores were significantly worse in 2022 than in 2019, “a result no doubt of the absence of in-person learning during the first year and beyond of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Yes, there's learning loss between 2019 and 2022, but in some ways we don't want to keep going backwards,” said Marianne Perie, co-chair of the Technical Advisory Committee, which sets the baseline scores to reach “good enough.” 

“We're at this new normal. So for New York we are saying the new baseline is 2022,” she told the outlet. 

According to Fox News, 45.4 percent of New York students were proficient in English in 2019, which surprisingly rose slightly to 46.6 percent last year. However, the 46.7 math proficiency rate dropped by over eight points to just 38.6 percent.

New York Board of Regents member Frances Wills told the Times that adaptive tests may be better than the current standardized form. Adaptive tests would “offer easier” questions to students who aren't getting them right, the outlet reported.

“So you don't put a test in front of a student and completely demoralize them. We're looking at new ways to measure what students know. The idea that there's more to a student than that standardized test,” she said.

Other states and districts across the nation have also seen student understanding in several subjects worsen, with Seattle, Washington's reading scores falling by 6.3 percent and math by 16.3 percent, reported the Seattle Times.

Students of Seattle Public School were forced into remote learning for a longer period of time than most other American public schools, even after teachers' unions demanded faculty be prioritized for the COVID vaccines. The district has continued to see enrollment fall as the schools remained closed and even after reopening. Scores also continue to plummet.