Sent to the New York Daily News, August 5, 2013
We have been warned that New York test scores will drop because of new and more difficult math and reading examinations ("New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott warns that release of 2012 state and math test scores will show sharp declines," August 4).
Robert Linn of the University of Colorado and his colleagues have shown that test scores are typically low when a new test is introduced. Then the scores improve, about one to two points a year, as students and teachers get more familiar with the test. This is not because of brave new "rigorous" curricula; the improvements stop after a few years, after students and teachers have adapted to the new measures.
The improvement, in other words, may be due to a change in test-preparation strategies, not to improved learning.
Source: Linn, R., Graue, E., & Sanders, N. 1990. Comparing state and district test results to national norms: The validity of claims that “everyone is above average.” Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 10, 5-14.
Article: : http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/walcott-issues-test-score-warning-article-1.1417474#ixzz2bAQ1kkHd