Thursday, September 17, 2009

Haimson on NY Times on Test Inflation

Leonie Haimson writes:

Monday’s (9/14/09) NY Times article at

comes many weeks after earlier articles in the Daily News and Gotham Schools that have systematically exposed the state test score inflation; and long after the earlier Times article in August, in which the paper put a rosy spin on the rise of NYC’s test scores.

For more on this see their original article: and my response, NY Times falls in line with the Bloomberg PR spin control, in which I wrote:

The article fails to quote any independent experts or point to any evidence of test score inflation on the state exams, including lower cut scores, the repetition of similar questions, or the narrowing of topics covered, as revealed in articles in the Daily News and elsewhere.

Instead, the article quotes at great length their favorite expert, Howard Everson, head of a panel assembled by the State Education Department, who says that “New York’s tests were “about as good as we can build them,” as well as Merryl Tisch, the head of the Regents, and Joel Klein himself, all interested parties who predictably claim that the results indicate actual improvements in learning.

And though the system is full of teachers and even principals who will attest to the fact that the exams have become easier over time, the reporter chooses to quote not a single one.

Given the evident bias of this article, it appears clear that the Times has been captured by the Bloomberg/Klein PR machine, and can no longer be trusted to provide objective analysis of their education record.

They still repeat the arguments of the State education dept. that the cut off scores have gotten easier because the questions have gotten harder – with no evidence offered for the State’s position, and much evidence available for the reverse – that the questions have gotten easier and more predictable over time.

Will the Times now go back and correct the earlier article – in which they also gave credit to NYC for increases in the NAEPs that took place before the Bloomberg/Klein policies were in place?

Don’t hold your breath.

Leonie Haimson

1 comment:

Bestmedia said...

Tell us something we don’t already know. NYC teachers aren’t looking to have something special. The rest of NY state, most, if not all of NJ, etc. keeps its class sizes at manageable levels. It’s probably the second most important thing (next to improving the general quality of teachers hired) that can be done to improve every aspect of a child’s education and yet the DOE gives it short shrift because it costs money and is an admission that all these other distractions are nothing more and teachers and parents actually know something.