The new website, includes a fascinating discussion of a question on the test. Open the link to tread it.

Here was a comment by another teacher:

“Today my 24 gems sat down to take the NYS ELA test, book 1, day 1. This test consisted of 5 passages and 30 multiple choice questions. I felt the passages were okay readability, but the questions were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my 8 years of teaching. Many of the questions were wordy, required my 8/9 years old to flip multiple times referring to paragraph numbers, and included very close answer choices. There were questions neither myself or my colleagues were able to answer with a reasonable degree of certainty. There was no way to “prepare” my students for these type of questions. I’ve been teaching solid reading skills about characters-that characters are more than one way, about plot/setting- the events can impact the story, and how to defend or support your claim or thinking with evidence from the text. We’ve read and practiced non-fiction reading (locating important lines, adding up details to find the main idea, and looking out for an author’s point of view). Every single one of my students have shown growth this year and are avid readers. Unfortunately, this test did not measure CCSS (character development, feelings, locating details, etc) and seemed more like a trick, than a measure to check understanding of passages. My students took almost the entire time to complete their assessment and 2 did not finish. This “test” was disheartening and a complete joke. April fools maybe?”

Here is another:


Author: Mary, Teacher | State: NY | Test: | Date: April 1 at 10:16 pm ET
I am truly disgusted at what these tests have become. As a fifth grade teacher, many of my best readers were in tears before I even handed out the booklets. They were so stressed because of all the pressure. After calming them down and assuring them that they were prepared and should just try their best, I opened up the test booklet and wanted to cry myself. The passages were very long and the questions were absurd. What is the point of analyzing every single sentence in a passage? It’s ridiculous! My students worked hard and used every strategy they knew to help them get through it and I’m really proud of them. However, the looks of frustration and misery on their faces was heartbreaking. The test is too long and they are not given enough time. Why is a reading test timed in the first place? Now they need to endure this for another two days?? Something needs to be done! I’ve seriously lost all respect for this system.


Author Comment
Anonymous, Teacher
April 1 at 11:56 pm ET Same thoughts in 3rd grade. The answer choices were so close and there were clearly 2 answers that could be reasonable. So disheartening for my readers that are growing everyday…

An 11th grade teacher who gave the Smarter Balanced test wrote:

“I teach in an urban school in Los Angeles. Most students did not finish the ELA portion of the test; the passages were extremely long and the vocabulary was above their reading level. I believe it will take generations for students in American schools to be prepared for a test of this caliber, and a real investment in improving urban schools and communities.”