From NPR reporter Gabriel Spitzer in Seattle.
Seattle families should expect steep drops in student test scores as public schools adopt new national learning standards, according to a report to be presented Wednesday evening to the Seattle School Board.
Starting next year, students in Washington, 44 other states, and the District of Columbia will be held to new, tougher standards known as Common Core. That could cause some sticker shock once test scores start rolling in a year later.
A new analysis from the publisher Scholastic says Seattle schools should prepare for a 10- to 33 percent drop in student proficiency, and that as many as half of tested students could come in below standards. The estimates come from comparing scores from the current state tests with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is thought to employ a similar level of rigor to the coming Common Core tests
This widely predicted drop in test scores is a topic that Florida legislators have avoided. It’s not as if people aren’t trying to explain it to them. Lobbyist Jim Horne, a former state education commissioner, cautioned advocates to “don’t disappear into the bushes when the bullets start flying.”
The Seattle prediction may be a modest one. Illinois-Chicago professor Tim Shanahan predicts that PARCC assessments could generate a whopping 75 percent failure rate. Such sober predictions are why guys like Horne are trying to prepare Florida power brokers. His hyperbole reveals he’s aware of the reality that such results will have to fit into Florida’s multiple and complicated accountability systems.