Student performance in Louisiana is dropping rapidly. The decline started just about the time John White became superintendent of Education and has accelerated rapidly with the introduction of Common Core in Louisiana schools. Based on a sample analysis of the very meager data LDOE finally released under threat of lawsuit it is clear that not only is student performance not increasing or staying steady, it Is in fact declining, and being masked by a lowering of the number of correct answers required to pass LEAP and iLEAP tests. Please refer to this post by Mike Deshotels and the analysis provided by Herb Bassett for the details. Below is an excerpt from Mike’s blog.
Here is the table supplied by the LDOE as a result of my public records request:
Notice that for 4th grade ELA, 4th grade Math, and 8th grade Math, there was a significant lowering of the percentage of correct answers needed to get a rating of basic. The Science and Social Studies percentages were changed very little from 2013 to 2014.
Would you like to know why such a high percentage of our students (64%) were able to reach the level of Basic this year on a more difficult 8th grade Math test? Herb Bassett calculates that using the same method of guessing described above, 8th grade students this year on the average would need to know only 20.2% of the math material on the test to reach the level of Basic.
What this means is simple terms is that Louisiana students are about 18% less prepared now in 4th grade in English Language Arts, and 28% percent less prepared in Math by the time the reach 8th grade than they were before John White and Common Core started being used in Louisiana schools. 8th grade ELA seems to be about the same. (My guess is this ability evened out as children read more books outside of school. That’s actually how I acquired my skills.) 4th Grade Math takes about a 10% hit in 4th grade, and children’s abilities seem to deteriorate going forward based on the 8th grade results.
This data actually matches up with information being supplied by teachers and parents. I can see why John White would have been so reticent to release this information except under court order and legal proceeding. This is not a local phenomenon. New York has discovered the same subterfuge in their state.
I don’t have magical powers, but I can confidently predict this is something you will find and see happening across the nation, especially in education Reformer infested territories. There is nothing standardized about the testing of Common Core, the only standardization comes in in the form of lying about it.
Proponents of Common Core, and the High Stakes testing required by it, have claimed the comparability of test scores across states will make for meaningful comparisons. To have this meaningful comparison, all states must teach the same curriculum and all must administer identical tests from one of the two federally funded consortiums (Smarter Balanced and PARCC). However neither consortium controls the cut scores; those are entirely in the control of the states. These scores can go up or down as local politics require.
Let me spell this out for you. If you want to show progress in your state you can artificially inflate the scores to show improvement. If you need to make a case for more charter schools and school closures simply lower the scores and take them over and then raise the score back to show that reform worked. That is exactly what Louisiana has done and no doubt other reform markets as well. The actual data shows the Reforms, including Common Core, have had the exact opposite effect, and a very dramatic one.
Even though the proposed tests are identical, even though the curriculum is identical, the actual scores and their meanings are left up to individual states to determine. That fact nullifies the argument for identical standardized tests and even the need for a standardized curriculum. Our scores, our levels of achievement, will not be and are not comparable to scores in other states. These tests are actually the opposite of comparable. NAEP and DEIBELS are national tests that are comparable, and neither of them requires a standardized curriculum nor extensive, expensive, technology intensive, obsessive testing, like Common Core does.
Most people won’t understand why that’s important. Even if some people do understand this shell game, most states will do whatever they can to prevent the public from learning about this practice in a timely manner (as Louisiana and John White has done). This is really a pretty important finding. It confirms anecdotal evidence many parents and teachers have experienced in school and in their homes. This finding drives a stake through the heart of the educational vampire known as Common Core.
Unfortunately Common Core vampires are very real. The corporately funded, Reformer and National teacher union embraced propaganda promoting Standardized Tests linked to Common Core as the cure-all for educational inequality and systemic and endemic poverty is the myth. Really, when you think about it, which is really the more believable reality?