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Despite new standards, F-M and J-D students excel on state tests

The major issue, however, is that many of New York’s teachers say they were — and still are — inadequately prepared to teach Common Core, and that’s what contributed to low scores.

“These tests were attached to Common Core standards, which have been incompletely rolled out in New York,” said Dr. Teresa Thayer Snyder, superintendent of the Voorheesville Central School District near Albany; the district boasts a 97 percent high school graduation rate, yet has comparable ELA and math proficiency levels to the rest of the state. Snyder, who has been a school administrator for several years, made the comments on her blog, which has been praised by education policy analyst Diane Ravitch. “The material covered large quantities of information that have not been taught, with texts well past grade level and concepts that require cognitive processing that is more typical of older students. From my point of view, after many years of studying teaching and learning — and multiple years spent working in schools — these assessments are impure science. I cannot justify impure science as a means of determining student learning or teacher effectiveness.”

Snyder even questioned whether Common Core was all the state was making it out to be.

“The Common Core standards are being widely heralded as the best thing to happen in education — a message initiated by the author of the same standards,” she wrote. “Truthfully, we don’t know if they are better than what we have had, we won’t know for several years. I would take considerably more comfort in this optimistic view if it were not rooted in the verbiage of their architect. What has been accomplished here is a phenomenal marketing job — so much spin about so little substantive work, with no research base to support the claims.”

“There comes a time when we need to stand up and point out that there are too many holes here,” Snyder said. “This is not about educational reform, it is about degrading the work that we do in schools.”

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