Chalkbeat: New York City schools will once again grade their own students’ Regents exams, a policy that officials scrapped a decade ago amid concerns that educators were systematically nudging scores over the passing cutoff.
New York’s Regency exam is a statewide system of standardized, exit exams for secondary school students. Traditionally, the exam was graded by teachers from the same school as the student, i.e. the student’s teachers. The exam had two cutoffs, 55 for a “local diploma” and 65 for the higher-level “Regent’s diploma.” The distribution of grades during the home-school grading period shows clear spikes in the number of students just passing the 55 and 65 point cutoffs (and consequent dips in the number of students just failing). From an excellent paper by Dee, Dobbie, Jakob and Rockoff.
Is this altruism on the part of the teachers? Maybe. But the teachers are also graded on the number of their students who pass the exam.
The home-school grading system was dropped around 2011 due to bad publicity about the rampant cheating. It’s quite amazing that not a single good reason has been given for returning to the home-school grading system but the teacher’s union has been pressuring to return to the easier to manipulate system.
Hat tip: Thomas Dee.
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