Archives for category: Testing

The first-grade teachers at Skelly Elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sent a letter home to parents to describe the over testing of their children.

 

They explained their professional qualifications, then listed the many tests the children are expected to take, stealing time from instruction.

 

Unfortunately, in the recent years, the mandates have gradually squelched the creativity and learning from our classrooms. The problem is that we are having to spend WAY too much time on formal assessments. All of the testing is required and some of it is classified as High Stakes Testing (HST). A high-stakes test is any test used to make important decisions about students, educators, schools, or districts, most commonly for the purpose of accountability—i.e., the attempt by federal, state, or local government agencies and school administrators to ensure that students are enrolled in effective schools and being taught by effective teachers. In general, “high stakes” means that test scores are used to determine punishments (such as sanctions, penalties, funding reductions, negative publicity), accolades (awards, public celebration, positive publicity), advancement (grade promotion or graduation for students), or compensation (salary increases or bonuses for administrators and teachers). (Glossary of Education Reform, 2014)

 

This year, in first grade, your child is being asked to participate in the following assessments:

 

Literacy First Assessment: This takes anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour per student to administer. This is a one-on-one assessment that is to be conducted quarterly or more for progress monitoring.

 

“Where to Start Word List”: This assessment correlating to the F&P screening. The purpose of this screening is to level each child and ensure they are given reading instruction on their level. After going through the word lists, then the child is screened using a book on the assigned level. This assessment is done quarterly or as needed to progress monitor. It takes 20-30 minutes per child is also a one-on-one assessment.

 

Eureka Math: Children are to be given a whole group, 60 minute math lesson that has an “exit ticket” assessment at the end of each lesson. Yes, they want first graders testing daily over the lessons. This exit ticket is not long, but it still takes time. It equilibrates to daily testing for 6 and 7 year old children. This math curriculum also had a mid-module assessment and end of unit assessment.

 

iRead: iRead is a software program that the district requires children to be on for 20 minutes a day. It comes with an abundance of software issues and frustrations. The district has been working diligently on trying to get this programming to run successfully, but so far, to no avail. Part of this computer based program is a literacy screener. This screening takes place at the beginning of the year, and last 30-45 minutes per child.

 

MAP: Map is a computer based test that was designed as a tool for progress monitoring students in both math and literacy. This is the High Stakes Test that the district also utilizes for our teacher evaluations. It is completely developmentally inappropriate and does not provide valid data in the early childhood domain.

 

All of these tests, plus assessments that we utilize to document their understanding of certain content, are going on in your child’s first grade classroom. I believe you are getting the point… assessments, assessments, assessments! In our classrooms the children spend, on average, 1,510 minutes (25 hours) completing assessments. 720 minutes of those assessments are one-on-one. That means that we are tied up assessing students for at least 17, 280 minutes a school year. Your children are losing 288 hours of time with their teacher because of mandated testing. When you break down our days and count for specials, lunch, and recess, we end up with about 4 hours of instruction time. So, 288 instructional hours, or 72 days… yes, 72 days of our school year we, as teachers, are tied up assessing students with the mandated assessments. Why are our schools failing? Why are children not learning how to read? We think the numbers above answer those questions.

 

This is what it looks like when teachers stand up for their students.

John Merrow notes that 5,000 students in Colorado opted out from state tests. Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will there be an. “Education Spring” in 2015?

The Wyoming Attorney General issued an opinion that parents are not legally allowed to withdraw their children from state testing.

 

They can do it in other states, but not in Wyoming.

 

Wyoming does not believe that parents should control the education of their children. Wyoming believes that the state may compel parents and children to take exams that they believe are harmful to their children.

 

Parents of Wyoming, don’t let the Attorney General bully you. When you grew up, there was no annual testing. There were no harsh consequences attached to test scores. This is all nonsense. Stop it by your determination. Stand up for your children.

Jeannie Kaplan, who recently retired from the Denver school board, knows how to read the reports and data from the district. Here is one of her best posts. She is a stalwart critic of the data-driven corporate reform culture and has often noted how little progress students have made after a full decade of corporate reform and constant testing. The latest bad news concerned test scores in science and social studies. But the district superintendent Tom Boasberg did not issue a press release acknowledging the low scores and proposing more time for instruction in science and social studies.

 

Kaplan writes:

 

So, what happens when test results are so awful that even a crack public information office, focused on test scores and accountability, can’t figure out how to put a positive spin on standardized test numbers? Denver Public Schools and Superintendent Tom Boasberg faced this situation in late October when, after several delays, the Colorado Department of Education released its first Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Social Studies (grades 4 and 7) and Science (grade 5 and 8) results. This is a somewhat ironic name since the academic success was nowhere to be found. The superintendent writes regularly about the wonders of “reform” in DPS and has historically been able to spin even the worst “gains.” This time, however, he was flummoxed.

 

CMAS results were released at noon on Monday, October 27, 2014. Boasberg’s email went out later that afternoon. His 11 paragraph epistle waxed on about these new standards, how helpful they will be, how they set higher standards for our students, and how they will help ensure “our students graduate high school ready for college and career in the 21st century.” In paragraph six he briefly shifts gears and half-heartedly bemoans “the overall number of state assessments and the time spent on them” and asks very quietly for the state to find a way to make assessments precise, targeted and SHORT “to lessen the amount of lost instructional time” This from the quintessential Broad trained superintendent. There is hardly a standardized test he hasn’t supported.

 

What did this data-driven “reformer” not cite in his email? You guessed it. The data! Of the six links in the email, none of them links to actual data and test results. Instead there are PowerPoints and generalities about CMAS and the like. Again, no test results or links to test results. The actual test results for the state and more importantly for Denver Public Schools are nowhere to be found. But do not fear. I am here to shed light on that missing piece and help ensure the truth be told.

 

The scores were in fact abysmal. Read her post to see just how awful they were. Some charter schools with “science” in their names did poorly, as did most public schools.

 

Kaplan writes:

 

The superintendent is right about one thing: he always proclaims the kind of school – turnaround, innovation, charter, traditional – really doesn’t matter when it comes to academic outcomes. Whatever school is academically successful, he is all for it. In this situation he is right: no school has been successful in teaching Social Studies and Science. In this regard the kind of school is irrelevant. What he fails to understand is if you are not allowed to teach the subject, children in any kind of school will not learn the subject. And if you can’t speak, read and write English with fluency, you most likely won’t do well on a test in English.

 

This is all very puzzling to me. I truly cannot figure out how telling people they are failing is a good strategy. I truly cannot understand the long term purpose of testing all the time. Most of all I truly am saddened by how the education decision makers either never understood the purpose of public education or have lost sight of it. If you have solutions for stopping this madness, please share them.

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, despite the strong objections of tens of thousands of parents across the state, the New York Board of Regents agreed to make field testing of the Common Core testing mandatory. This was supposedly to quell the uprising of parents who kept their children home last year. Making an unpopular policy mandatory seems likely to feed the parent rebellion.

 

New York has adopted the PARCC test, which some other states have rejected. PARCC is supposed to have at least 15 states signed on, but at present its numbers have shrunk to only 12 or 13 willing states.

 

Peter Goodman, a long-time commentator on New York education politics, here describes PARCC as “zombie testing.” It is dead, and no one is willing to give up the ghost.

 

He writes:

 

The only purpose of the current testing regime is to “measure” the effectiveness of the $55 billion New York State spends each year as well as to “measure” the effectiveness of individual teachers.

The governor loves to talk about turning New York State into a high tech center, creating high paying jobs in the new cyber industries and harasses educators and demeans parents, he is the troglodyte.

The governor should be leading our school system into the new age, not wasting time and money and resources testing kids in a meaningless exercise.

 

The Regents and Commissioner John King think they are in public office to compel the public to do what they want. They don’t understand that they are “public servants,” which means obviously they are supposed to serve the public. When thousands of parents rise up as one to say that their children are over tested and their schools have been turned into test-prep centers, the Regents should listen. They haven’t. They have added fuel to parent anger. It is not going away just because the Regents have passed a motion. The children belong to their parents, not to the state.

Contact your member of the Néw York Board of Regents and urge them not to make field testing of Oearson tests mandatory.

http://www.regents.nysed.gov/members/Membersterms0412.html

CURRENT MEMBER TERMS AND AREAS REPRESENTED

2016* Tisch, Merryl H.; B.A., M.A., Ed.D.
Chancellor; At Large
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Tisch@nysed.gov

2016* Bottar, Anthony S.; B.A., J.D.
Vice Chancellor; Judicial District V — Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego
120 Madison Street, Suite 1600, AXA Tower II, Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 422-3466 Email: Regent.Bottar@nysed.gov

2015* Bennett, Robert M.; B.A., M.S.
Chancellor Emeritus; Judicial District VIII — Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
201 Millwood Lane, Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Bennett@nysed.gov

2015* Dawson, James C.; A.A, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Judicial District IV — Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington
166 U.S. Oval, Plattsburgh, NY 12903
Phone: (518) 324-2401 Email: Regent.Dawson@nysed.gov

Vacant
Judicial District XI — Queens

2015* Phillips 3rd, Harry; B.A., M.S.F.S.
Judicial District IX — Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester
71 Hawthorne Way, Hartsdale, NY 10530
Phone: (914) 948-2228 Email: Regent.Phillips@nysed.gov

2017* Tallon, Jr., James R. ; B.A., M.A.
Judicial District VI – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins
United Hospital Fund, 1411 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018
Phone (212) 494-0777 Email: Regent.Tallon@nysed.gov

2015* Tilles, Roger; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District X – Nassau, Suffolk
100 Crossways Park West, Suite 107, Woodbury, N.Y. 11797
Phone (516) 364-2533 Email: Regent.Tilles@nysed.gov

2017* Bendit, Charles R.; B.A.
Judicial District I – New York
111 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10011
Phone (212) 220-9945 Email: Regent.Bendit@nysed.gov

2018* Rosa, Betty A.; B.A., M.S. in Ed., M.S. in Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.
Judicial District XII – Bronx
State Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (718) 664-8052 Email: Regent.Rosa@nysed.gov

2015* Young, Jr., Lester W.; B.S., M.S., Ed.D.
At Large
55 Hanson Place, Suite 400, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Phone (718) 722-2796 Email: Regent.Young@nysed.gov

2019* Cea, Christine D.; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Judicial District XIII – Richmond
NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities
1050 Forest Hill Road, Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone (718) 494-5306 Email: Regent.Cea@nysed.gov

2019* Norwood, Wade S.; B.A.
At Large
74 Appleton Street, Rochester, NY 14611
Phone (585) 436-2944 Email: Regent.Norwood@nysed.gov

2015* Cashin, Kathleen M.; B.S., M.S., Ed.D.
Judicial District II – Kings
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Cashin@nysed.gov

2019*Cottrell, James E.; B.S., M.D.
At Large
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 6, Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098
Phone (718) 270-2331 Email: Regent.Cottrell@nysed.gov

2017*Brown, T. Andrew; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District VII – Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates
925 Crossroads Building, Two State Street, Rochester, NY 14614
Phone (585) 454-3667 Email: Regent.Brown@nysed.gov

2019* Finn, Josephine Victoria; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District III – Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

* Year When Present Term Ends

:

Leaders of the anti-testing movement want to place two large billboards on major highways. informing parents of their right to opt out. They need only $300 more to meet their goal of $3,700.. Can you spare $10?

 

“Here at revolutionary headquarters, thanks to recent contributions from Colorado Springs, Denver, Loveland, and Washington State, our account at the Weld Schools Credit Union has grown to just shy of $3,000. We have come a long ways from the $700 we started with just after Labor Day. If you have yet to donate to the campaign to inspire parents to exempt their children from the fraud of the testing regimen, now would be a great time to contribute and help us reach our goal of $3,700.

 

“As you know, we have absolutely zero administrative costs. All contributions go toward our two billboards. (I’ll attach the board from last year, and the proof of this year’s board.)

 

“Please send your donation to:
The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.
2424 22nd Avenue
Greeley, Colorado 80631

 

All donations regardless of amount are greatly appreciated. Now more than ever we can see the wheel of history begin to turn toward more humane educational policies. Let’s keep raising our voices. The billboard campaign is one outstanding way to do just that.

 

In solidarity,

 

Don Perl
The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.
http://www.thecbe.org

Department of Hispanic Studies
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, Colorado 80639
don.perl@unco.edu
970-351-2746

This mom in Chicago opted her child out of the state tests. She remembered that when she was in school, there were a few standardized tests, and they were about her growth. Now the tests are pervasive, and constantly comparing her child to other children. She decided to opt out.

“When I look at my kids’ progress reports and academic records, the picture is a bit more murky. Which is surprising. It should be more clear than something that happened 30-20 years ago. And yet, my childrens’ academic records are numerical to the extreme. ISAT score: number. NWEA score: number ranges. STEP level: number. Selective Enrollment score: number. These numbers can be useful. But they are, for the most part, comparative.

“They tell me less about how my kids are doing as they do about how my kids are doing compared to everyone else. Do my children know more than the average American 6th, 4th, and 2nd graders? Yes. But what does this mean for them and their future success? I cannot answer that. And neither, really, as far as I can see, do the test results.

“If test results in 3rd grade are prescriptive of future life success, why not just sort them all out then and be done with it immediately? “O brave new world, That has such people in’t!”

“Yeah, no. That is, fortunately, not yet how it works in this world.

“Instead, (two of) my children will take the PARCC assessment this year. I took the sample assessment for ELA for 3rd grade. It is hard. I remember taking the ACT in 1991 as a high school junior, and I think the types of reading comprehension questions I answered then were easier than the exercises that the PARCC asks 8- and 9-year-olds to complete. If my conclusion, based on this exercise, is that I am dumber than the average 8-year-old, I can only imagine the effect such tests will have on the average 8-year-old. And I’m not the only adult struggling with the PARCC practice exam. And we’re only parents. At least one school board is also struggling with the validity and need for administering the PARCC.”

Will she subject her children to nine hours of PARCC testing?

Let’s hope not.

Bob Schaeffer of FAIRTest writes about the news of the past week in the testing revolt:

Though election results dominated media coverage for several days, the assessment reform movement continued to accelerate across the nation, producing front-page news in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times and other major outlets.

Check out this week’s stories and commentaries below — remember that back issues of these weekly news summaries are archived at http://fairtest.org/news and that fairtest.org has many other resources to help your local public education work

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an “F”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/states-listen-as-parents-give-rampant-testing-an-f.html

Students Boycott New Colorado State Tests

http://lonetreevoice.net/stories/State-tests-meet-student-resistance,172932

Coloradans Pack Testing Commission Meeting, Demand Assessment Reform

http://www.nbc11news.com/home/headlines/District-51-bans-together-to-improve-standardized-testing-for-its-students-281883671.html

Connecticut Seeks Fed Waiver to Rate Schools on More Than Test Scores

http://ctmirror.org/state-wants-to-rate-schools-on-more-than-just-test-scores/

“Stop the Testing Madness” Movement Sweeps Florida

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/sfl-stop-the-testing-madness-in-florida-20141107-story.html

Florida Student Refuses to Retake Florida Exit Exam, Endorses Alternative Graduation Routes in School Board Testimony

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-student-skips-fcat-kiana-hernandez-20141107-story.html

New Georgia State Superintendent Says He Wants to Reduce Testing Volume and Consequences

http://onlineathens.com/breaking-news/2014-11-06/new-state-school-superintendent-wants-audit-state-education-department-less

Hundreds of Georgia Seniors Transfer to Private Schools to Avoid Graduation Test

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/2-investigates-practice-hs-seniors-transferring-av/nh3FH/

Fairness of Georgia Teacher Evaluation System Challenged

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional/fairness-of-new-teacher-evaluation-system-in-quest/nh2n8/

Illinois Families Push Back Against State Super’s Claim That Parents Can’t Opt Out

http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/state-already-warning-parents-against-opting-kids-out-of-new-parcc-test/

Maryland Mother Fights Common Core Testing

http://www.westernjournalism.com/maryland-mother-fighting-common-cores-standardized-testing/

Are Massachusetts Students Being Over-Tested?

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/11/08/mass-wonders-whether-students-being-overtested/jZpConK32gDAdroaS30lyI/story.html

Massachusetts High-Stakes Exam Issues Must Be Addressed

http://brookline.wickedlocal.com/article/20141107/OPINION/141107290

Missouri Voters Reject Proposal to Base Teacher Evaluation on Student Test Scores

http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/politics/2014/11/04/teacher-tenure-amendment-fails/18503309/

New Jersey Test Review Panel Appointed

http://www.northjersey.com/news/christie-appoints-members-of-panel-to-study-school-tests-1.1130656

New Mexico Media Ignore Teachers in Testing Controversy Coverage

http://www.abqjournal.com/493882

Letter to Parents of New York Third Graders — Model Opt-Out Campaign Resources

http://www.nystoptesting.com/2014/11/dear-3rd-grade-parents.html?spref=tw

New York Supers Call State’s Teacher Rating System a “Travesty of Significant Proportion”

http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/11/06/view-lower-hudson-council-school-superintendents-blasts-appr/18591403/

“We Don’t Need No High-Stakes Testing” Ohio Video

Nix Pennsylvania Standardized Exams to Concentrate on Education

http://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/20141105/guest-column-lets-nix-standardized-tests-and-concentrate-on-education

Philadelphia City Council to Hold Hearing on Costs of High-Stakes Testing

http://appsphilly.wikispaces.com/file/view/Opt%20Out%20hearings%20file.pdf/529777520/Opt%20Out%20hearings%20file.pdf

The Myth of Chinese Super Schools: Diane Ravitch Reviews New Book By Yong Zhao

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/myth-chinese-super-schools/

School Grades and Attendance, Not Test Scores, Predict Academic Success

http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/30938478-474/grades-before-test-scores-hold-the-secret-to-success.html#.VGC4AnvvcZw

How Random Events Change “Standardized” Test Scores and Alter Consequences

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/04/how-chance-events-during-standardized-tests-affect-your-scores-and-future-income/

Better Ways Than VAM to Evaluate Educators

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2014/11/response_getting_what_you_pay_for_in_teacher_evaluations.html

“Stereotype Threat” Can Undermine Academic Performance

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-negative-stereotypes-cognitive-students-groups.html

Do Test-Based Teacher Evaluation Programs Live Up to Promoters’ Expectations

http://edexcellence.net/articles/next-generation-teacher-evaluations-are-they-living-up-to-expectations

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468
web- http://www.fairtest.org

Large numbers of high school students at Fairview High School in Boulder opted out of state tests.

“More than 5,000 Colorado 12th graders have refused to take the new state-mandated science and social studies tests as student anxiety about over-testing grows.

“Hundreds of high schools students in Boulder staged a mass walk out Thursday and Friday, refusing to take their 12th grade social studies and science tests.

“Fairview High School students say they want to send a clear message that when it comes to testing, enough is enough.”

They also objected to the idea that their teachers and schools might be harmed by their scores.

“Students complain the new tests don’t reflect what they’ve learned in school. Fairview Senior Jennifer Jun says some of the material was taught years earlier, or not at all.

“For them to be testing us on things that we never learned about just doesn’t make sense to us,” Jun says.

“Senior Chaya Wurman says students also worry that part of a teacher and school’s evaluation could eventually be tied to the results of tests.

“Our school is going to be harmed and our teachers are going to be harmed if students don’t do well on this test and obviously they won’t do well on this test because we’ll be tested on material that we have never learned or haven’t learned in years,” she says.

“Thursday morning, nine Fairview High students took the science test out of 538 seniors. Friday, 10 students took the social studies test.”

- See more at: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/thousands-students-protest-colorado-standardized-tests#sthash.DGG400IW.dpuf

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