Students at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, a school that accepts only students that have high scores on their entry examinations, boycotted the latest tests to protest their purpose. The students knew that the tests had no purpose other than to evaluate their teachers, and they thought the tests were not only a waste of students’ time but unfair to their teachers.

Geoff Decker of Gotham Schools writes:

A group of students at the elite high school in lower Manhattan pledged to opt out of the English tests that were administered today, saying they’re opposed to the exam’s purpose. The tests are low-stakes for students, but they’ll be used to grade teachers on new evaluations being rolled out this year.

“This movement is meant to support Stuyvesant teachers in opposing an unfair teacher evaluation system,” Senior David Cahn wrote on the Facebook page he created to encourage other students to join in.

Students across the city are taking formal baseline tests this year in many subjects because of new teacher evaluation rules. The rules require teachers to be rated in part by how much their students improve over the course of the year, and schools are using tests this fall as the baseline for determining student proficiency at the beginning of the year. 

The extra testing has eaten into class time and taken teachers out of classroom for grading. “

The students at Stuyvesant High School proved that they understand more about teaching and learning than policymakers in Washington and Albany.