New York Performance Standards Consortium Fact Sheet

New York Performance Standards Consortium

(Updated October, 2016)

Performance-based assessment works well for all students, but its success with the most vulnerable students is what makes the outcomes of the New York Performance Standards Consortiumso impressive.The Consortium now includes 38 public, non-charter high schools, 36 in New York City.

The Consortium’s assessments are created by teachers and rooted in in-depth, project-based curricula and teaching.Its 2015 report, Education for the 21st Century, demonstrates that Consortium schools significantly outperform those in other New York City public schools while serving a similar population. In particular, more students from all demographic groups graduate, go to college and stay in college.

The Assessments

To “demonstrate college and career readiness and to qualify for graduation,” all Consortium schools require students to complete four Performance-Based Assessment Tasks(PBATs): an analytic literature essay, a social studies research paper, a student-designed science experiment, and higher-level mathematics problems that have real-world applications. They include both written and oral components.

The Consortium has permission from the state Department of Education to administer only one of the state graduation tests, English Language Arts. The PBATs, generally completed in 11th and 12th grades, replace the Regents exams in other subjects and for school accountability.

Education for the 21st Centuryexplains that the PBATs “emerge from class readings and discussion. In some classes, the tasks are crafted by the teacher and in other instances by the student.” For example, in social studies, each student must write and then orally defend a research-based analytic paper on questions that have grown out of a history, government, or economics class. The Consortium’s data report includes samples of the wide range of social studies interests addressed by the students, as well as similar samples for the other required tasks. In the oral defense for each PBAT, the student responds to questions from a panel of teachers and outside experts.

As Urban Academy history teacher Avram Barlowe explained, the PBATs require students to learn perseverance, how to assess and apply evidence, and explain their thinking in these assessments in written and oral forms. They “demand that students learn, through practice, how to read, write, calculate, observe and research in a critical manner.” A DVD series, Teacher to Teacher, shows how teachers and students build their courses to attain these ends.

All the PBATs and oral defenses completed for the common graduation requirement are evaluated using Consortium-wide scoring guides (“rubrics”). The report includes rubrics for the four subjects. These well-developed assessment standards, written and revised as needed by Consortium teachers, allow accurate evaluations of student work across schools. Samples of the work are blindly re-scored to evaluate both reliability of scoring and the challenge level of teacher assignments. Samples of student work (“exemplars”) that have gone through a series of moderation studies help both scorers and students tothink about high-quality work.

Each school maintains collections of work that chronicle a student's growth. The college persistence data show that the extensive reading, writing and long-term planning required for the performance assessments prepare students well for higher education.

The Results

Consortium schools follow the same admissions process as other non-exam New York City high schools. The student population of the Consortium’s New York City schools mirrors the city’s student body (only two schools are outside NYC). These schools have nearly identical shares of blacks, Latinos, English language learners and students with disabilities. Students enter Consortium high schools with lower ELA and math average scores than citywide averages.

The Consortium dropout rate is half that of NYC public schools. Graduation rates for all categories of students are higher than for the rest of NYC and nearly double the city’s rates for ELLs and students with disabilities. The Consortium also tracks student persistence in college. The report demonstrates that rates of enrollment in third semester exceed the national average. (The Consortium is updating this information, for release in fall 2016).

Resources and References

A print formated PDF of this fact sheet is available here.

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