By BOB GRIFFIN
Recently, the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development made changes to many of the cuts-scores that define proficiency rates for the English/Language Arts and Math under the new AKSTAR state test.
I supported the cut-score recalibrations. In the first year of the new AKSTAR test, the results showed a significant misalignment between the AKSTAR proficiency rates and the proficiency rates reported by the US Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
The biggest cut-score changes were made in the area of middle school math. A great example of why the changes were needed was difference in the NAEP 8th graders math results vs AKSTAR 8th grade math. NAEP reported a 24% proficiency rate in math for Alaskan 8th graders and AKSTAR proficiency rate was only 12% — in the same school year as the NAEP results.
The remaining cut-score changes, both up and down, were fairly minor, and the results will now more closely mirror the NAEP national standards.
For the first time, in a long time, Alaska had set our standards for testing much higher than national expectations — and it was appropriate to recalibrate.
I’ve also asked the department to recalculate the previous year’s proficiency rates, using the new standards, so year-over-year growth comparisons can be made.
Bob Griffin is the reading committee chair for the Alaska Board of Education.