What do new assessments aligned to the Common Core contact us? Not a great deal greater than what we should already knew. There are actually large and persistent achievement gaps. Inadequate students score at high levels. Students who performed well on tests in the past always work well today. In brief, even though the new assessments may re-introduce these conversations in most places, we are really not seeing dramatically different storylines.

To discover how scores differ during the Common Core era,?I collected?school-level?data from Maine. I picked Maine simply because they’re one small state using a manageable quantity of schools, these people were one of many 18 states making use of the new Smarter Balanced test in 2010, and furthermore, as these have made data purchased at the college level from tests succumbed the spring of 2015.

The graph below compares?average math and reading proficiency rates over two routines. The horizontal?axis plots?average proficiency rates from 2012-14 on Maine’s old assessments, as you move the vertical?axis corresponds to average proficiency rates in Spring 2015 for the new Smarter Balanced assessments.* One can find 447 dots, each representing one Maine public school with plenty data in any 4 years. The solid black line represents the linear relationship forwards and backwards periods of time.

Click to enlarge

There undoubtedly are a couple ideas to note with regards to the graph. First is that often, as has played out in lots of other areas, proficiency rates fell. The regular proficiency rate of these schools fell from 64 to 42 percent. While numerous schools saw average proficiency rates from 2012-14 while in the 80s and the 90s, no school scored above 82 % at the moment (this turns up as?white space presents itself the graph).

Second, we have a strong linear relationship backward and forward teams of scores. The correlation between these periods of time was .71, a relatively strong relationship. Schools that did well prior to now also tended to carry out well, using a relative basis, in 2015.

So exactly what does this mean??Some thoughts:

1. Do not actually know why the scores fell that way. In addition to whatever other changes are happening in?schools (not to mention this year’s test-takers are really a slightly different group than last year’s), states are choosing both new multiple assessments and new cut scores to view proficiency rates. We really do not determine if the tests are actually harder-although there’s justification to consider they are in some states-or when the declines are mainly designed for as a consequence of states raising the benchmark for what this means to become “proficient.”

2. There is no obvious reason for whatever year-to-year variation perform see. Which is, perhaps it is because some kinds of students performed better or worse over the old compared to the new test. Maybe these people were better at bubble tests or worse at open response questions (although logic suggests the identical students might struggle in format). Or it might just be random noise that’s an artifact of year-to-year fluctuations. That’s especially true given that we’re speaking about individual schools, which may have small sample sizes that happen to be more prone to random movements down or up.

3. It isn’t really clear exactly how much?correlation we’ve got to have expected between old and new assessments. Might it be a good point that the correlation is powerful? Is anyone surprised that schools with stronger performance up to now still work, or the opposite way round? As Jersey Jazzman notes in her excellent (but snarky)?deep dive into New york city, school proficiency?rates?are typically closely related year-to-year,?over for a long time time spans, and perhaps should the state sets new proficiency targets.

4. Simply what does the strong correlation between testing years contact us about school accountability? For example, why did Maine (and a lot of other states) really need to pause accountability should the new test scores are in line when using the old test scores? States with waivers from NCLB like Maine now are using normative comparisons in making accountability decisions, meaning the absolute proficiency levels haven’t much referring to a school’s?accountability. What matters is the place where each school compares to other schools. In a world where statewide proficiency rates fall 22 percentage points, a faculty that sees?its proficiency fall by 21 percent can be best.?Moreover, if states come to mind about year-to-year fluctuations introducing noise inside their accountability systems, correctly thinking of the right way to average over multiple years to be able to increase the precision with their determinations. A lot of places see year-to-year changes and assume they’re real in lieu of an artifact of small sample sizes.

5. The fresh test results may mean very different points to different actors. Although proficiency cut points don’t really matter for accountability decisions (see point #4 above), they generally do send an indication to folks and schools. When all we thought about were more?honest cut scores, states might well have just kept their old assessments and raised the benchmark that constituted?”proficiency.” The logic behind?the regular Core wasn’t exactly that we’d get lower scores; it had become that we’d be getting common?and?more accurate?measures of student progress. Some states and colleges have seized over the Common Core as a possible probability to give clearer guidance to students about what this implies to become “college-ready,” however it is still to soon to determine in the event the?promise of Common Core is?learning to be a reality.

*Update: Per a reader’s note, I flipped the graph’s axes from my original version. I produced few subsequent edits within the text nonetheless the substance doesn’t change.?

This post originally appeared on Prior to the Heard.