Want students to look worse? Change the cut scores.
In a must-read article explaining the politics behind cut scores on state-level tests, principal Carol Burris notes:
In 2011, the College Board created a College Readiness index. It was a combined index of 1550, which only 43 percent of all SAT test takers achieved. You can find it here. Now add up New York’s chosen index. It is 1630, significantly higher than the 2011 College Board’s index associated with a B- in college.
The above illustrates how one can manipulate the percentage of college readiness by … changing the definition of “college ready” to suit oneself. . . . In the end, [the New York State Education Department] chose values that are extraordinarily high, producing an index that exceeds the College Board’s index for achieving a B- average.
Next time you read or hear about someone saying that more difficult tests and/or higher cut scores will ensure college readiness, remember this and ask some tough questions.