Testing season has begun. Our hallways look like a scene from Lean on Me - equipped with a count down to the DC-CAS and all. My school advertises that we provide a World Class Education. I know that most teachers are busting their butt, however our students are not absorbing most of it. Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or to be fair, any sane person, we are an under performing school. We have not met AYP (adequate yearly progress) since '09 and even then I believe we only made Safe Harbor. Our goal this year is to have 80% of our students reach proficient on the DC-CAS ( DC-Comprehensive Assessment System) in April. Currently 47% of our students are proficient in Math, as determined by quarter 1 and quarter 2 final exams. This statistic is overwhelming because not only is it transparent that we will not my AYP again, but 63 % of the students are not learning the basic math skills. DC is known for having the lowest standards in the country, and our students are still not getting it. What is even more alarming is that only 32% of students are proficient in reading. Which is also extremely evident every time we assign independent reading. Their low reading comprehension obviously negatively effects their ability to read math problems which leads to low math scores as well.
If a student cannot read, we are completely failing a child.
I am a terrible test taker and I don't believe that all progress should be based off a multiple choice test. But regardless of how people feel about NCLB or standardize testing. Only 32% of students are reading at an appropriate grade level at my school. I reviewed the AYP scores from my high school in suburban Upstate NY and saw that 96.5% of students scored between 65-100 on the English Regents (which is 11th grade). 72% of Special Education students scored between 65-100 on the same exam. After some frustrating research on what is determined proficient on a NY State Regents - I found that 65 is passing and I believe that 75 is considered proficient. So, I recognize that the high percentage from my school is only identifying passing grades, not proficient - it's more like comparing oranges and tangerines than oranges & oranges
Also, I know for my high school our regents counted as apart of our grade. As a student, I studied harder for the high school regents than I did any college midterm or final. This may have changed since NCLB has been introduced, but it would certainly help boost buy in from the students, which I know for sure we are lacking at my school.
I think the teachers at my current school work 2x as hard as any of the teachers I had growing up. So what is it, that these students are just not getting it? I know school reform and all of these radical change have really only begun to take charge in the past few years, that some of these students are victim to ineffective teachers. But after reviewing our districts elementary scores where any positive change should be more visible since they are younger... they are still only reaching a maximum of 48 % proficient in reading. What the hell is going on?
Regardless, how on earth are we providing a world-class education if our students cannot read?