Gifted Programs Turning Students Away

Stringent new standards for grading state English and math exams are leading to reduced grades, forcing principals to cut many students from gifted programs that no longer meet the requirements.

Below is an excerpt of a New York Times article detailing the problem. With 29 schools offering gifted programs in Education District 22 – which covers Sheepshead Bay – it seems likely that many area schools could be calling up parents to deliver bad news. Have any readers’ families been affected by the new changes?

Here’s the excerpt:

LINDA L. SINGER, the principal of Public School 255 in Gravesend, Brooklyn, has some phone calls she is dreading to make.
Among them: informing 10 families that their children, scheduled to enroll in gifted programs, will no longer qualify, because of new, tougher grading on state English and math exams. And letting the rest of the teachers know that their A-graded school, which had shown consistent progress for years, plunged to a 65 percent passing rate in English, from 85 percent, according to standardized scores released last week.
“When I got these scores I thought I would die,” Ms. Singer said, echoing the feeling in many principals’ offices throughout the city. “Everything is changed.”
There were large drops in passing rates across New York, reflecting new requirements intended to correct for years of inflated results. The exams, state education officials said, had become too easy to pass, their definition of proficiency no longer meaningful. Citywide, the proficiency rate in English fell to 42 percent, from 69 percent last year; 54 percent reached grade level in math, down from 82 percent.
As the plummeting scores sunk in, principals planned strategy and contemplated the unraveling of other achievements, which they were suddenly informed were illusory. In New York City, where test scores are the cornerstone of school accountability, the new numbers, principals feared, could mean the end of their A grades from the Department of Education; a rise in negative teacher performance reviews, which are based partly on state tests; and substandard principal performance reviews.

Read the rest of the New York Times article.