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Answer to baseline assessment leaked online

Twelfth grade Measure of Student Learning Exam, sample answers and scoring rubric posted before exam was administered.

Answer to baseline assessment leaked online

      The New York City Department of Education administered a completely new set of baseline assessments for students this fall. The assessment will be used to track their growth and progress. These exams will also be used to assess teachers, with the results becoming part of their yearly evaluation.   The first day of the two-day 12th grade Measure of Student Learning assessment was given at Curtis High School on October 22nd.   After completing the first day of the exam some resourceful students searched online for the excerpt of text used on the assessment and to their surprise the actual assessment with the rubric and sample answers came up as the first link in the search engine.  On most state exams, there is usually the honesty policy that states “I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid” that all students have to sign, yet the MoSL assessment had no such policy. “There will be no consequences for the students who found the assessment because they were just being resourceful,” said Dr. Curtis, Principal of Curtis High School.

           S.O. President Sonia Reyes, who found the exam and sample essays notified her teacher. Reyes said, “I was very surprised when I found the sample essay. Mr. Cogan was surprised when I told him what I had found, so I believe I was one of the first to find it. ”

            IB English teacher Mr. Cogan said, “Since the assessment and perfect essay was posted on an official learning website, students were probably aware of its existence and had prior knowledge before the test was administered in class. Many students brought this to my attention, so I was aware that this was not a fluke or a practical joke.”

           Cogan continued,  “It compromises test security and eliminates scientific validity in testing students. It gives students the potential to show zero growth. It is impossible to grow because there is no way to get a higher score on the next evaluation because they probably won’t have access to the post assessment exams prior to the administration of the exam. Instead of measuring growth, the teachers will probably be seen as not teaching the students. It is an egregious violation of the tests integrity. It must be invalidated, if its not, the city has no credibility, and the adverse scores the following year can cause lawsuits.”

         In regards to the validity of the ELA Baseline Assessments, both Principal Curtis, Assistant Principal Michael DeConzo agreed with Cogan.  They unanimously stressed that the assessments must be invalidated, although, they each had their own arguments as to why.  Dr. Curtis felt that it would affect student growth in a negative way. Mr. DeConzo felt that it would   not have a positive effect in teacher evaluations. DeConzo said, “The possibility exists that if students accessed it and their growth is measured, and it doesn’t turn out well, then it will look like the teacher didn’t really do a good job. If students start off at such high levels in the beginning, what growth could they demonstrate? The best that they can do is write another perfect essay. If I were a teacher I would be concerned.”

      According to DeConzo, “We’re waiting for a response from the DOE. How many other schools know about this? I’m sure that others have had access to it since it was released publicly.” Not receiving a response to the issue only further implements that the blame is constantly being put on someone else. No one is taking responsibility and speaking with us.”

     Reyes explained why she was looking on search engines. “We had two large articles to read, and a five paragraph essay to do in two days and one of them was a Wednesday which is a shorter period. There was no way anyone had time to read the articles, so I googled them and came across the rubric and an assessment that had a perfect score. I was looking Tuesday night for just the excerpt; I had no idea what to do on the assessment essay. When I found the website I got to read the perfect assessment answer and it influenced my writing.”

         Reyes typed “The Horrors of War” and located the website cnf101.com. The unsecure website belongs to The Bridges for Learning Network, posted the assessment along with the rubric and sample essays. MoSL (Measure of Student Learning) specialist, Kerry Powers name is listed on the web page that had the links for the exam and answers.  In a Google search, it was shown that Kerry Powers was a teacher at Ballet Tech, a middle school in Manhattan.          When first contacted on October 31st, Powers didn’t reply, but after a second request via email on November 12th, she replied on the same day that she had no idea when the assessments were posted and didn’t answer questions about the validity of the assessments. Powers suggested the newspaper contact Deputy Network Leader of CFN101 Joan Mosely to give some input. The Log has emailed Mosley two times with no response.

     Using the Internet application, Wayback Machine, the Curtis Log was able to see the set up of the homepage of the CFN101 website as far back as September 14. On that day the homepage had a drop down tab for Measure of Student Learning.  The week of November 18, the website has changed and no longer has the exams sample essays , rubric or  teacher scoring guide posted.  The drop down menu has also been modified and no longer features the category where the students discovered the original test.

   The Log has also contacted Curtis’ Network Leader, Roberto Hernandez, on November 8th. On that same day, Hernandez responded to an interview request with “Can you send me the questions?”  He never answered the sent questions.  The Curtis Log has emailed  Hernandez four times. The last attempt made to get his input was on November 14th.

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