NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED558778
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
The "Phantom" Collapse of Student Achievement in New York: Lessons for Educators as States Implement the Common Core
Cronin, John; Jensen, Nate
Northwest Evaluation Association
On August 7th, 2013, the New York State Education Commissioner, John King, announced the initial results of the state's new assessment, which was designed to measure college and career readiness relative to the Common Core Learning Standards. Commissioner King noted that the proficiency rates on these assessments were significantly lower than proficiency rates on the prior year's assessment. The observed drops in proficiency rates reflected a change in the difficulty of the proficiency standard and not a decline in student scores or performance. One important question is: Did student performance in New York actually decline between 2012 and 2013, or was it a "phantom" decline that was reported in the media? One way to address this question is to compare student performance across both years using the same measurement scale while holding the proficiency threshold constant. Unfortunately, reports of declines in proficiency rates created the erroneous impression of a collapse in student achievement. This was a "phantom collapse," and as illustrated in the six district examples, schools with apparent declines in proficiency rates actually showed improvements in student achievement between 2012 and 2013. This New York narrative illustrates the need for educators to become data literate, and be able to coach the public when student achievement information is misrepresented, whether that occurs in the media or elsewhere. This paper concludes the "phantom collapse" of student achievement in New York reflects a misguided narrative of supposed school failure that does little more than feed distrust about public education, and comes at a time when educators are working to raise expectations for student learning to better prepare them to be successful throughout high school and beyond.
Northwest Evaluation Association. 121 NW Everett Street, Portland, OR 97209. Tel: 503-624-1951; Fax: 503-639-7873; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Northwest Evaluation Association
Identifiers - Location: New York