Peter Greene received a copy of New York State’s Toolkit for Superintendents on how to explain the importance of assessment to parents.

He concluded that its purpose was to discourage opt outs, which soared to 20% of all students this past spring. If it goes higher in 2016, the whole testing system would be in jeopardy.

New York decided to dump Pearson, but not for 2016; after that date, the new tests will be written by Questar.

Peter thinks the entire Toolkit is an exercise in propaganda that says nothing that is new and much that is not true:

Superintendents Tell Teachers What To Tell Parents

This is a handy guide to the lies that educators should tell parents. Tell them that without the test, we have no way of identifying student strengths and weaknesses. Tell them that the new Questar test will be better without admitting that the old one sucked. Say that double the number of NY teachers will be “involved” in developing the new test, but do not let them ask how you can know anything about the new test if it isn’t developed yet. Tell them that student rating of 1, 2 or 3 is really loaded with rich nuanced data. If they ask why their child’s grades don’t match test results, or why student scores went down this year, say “Argle bargle bargle.”

FOR PARENTS

Since our primary goal is informing parents enough that they will knock off the opt out stuff. So here are some mad libs aimed directly at them.

Superintendent Letter To Parents

Surprisingly weak. We have this test we give. It’s important and tests big deal stuff. No single test blah blah blah. Helps us compare your kid. The test is real fair and made just for New York and actual teachers worked on it (this is a recurring theme– the department is determined to make this look as teachery as possible without actually letting teacher have any real power). We’ll make sure your kid has time to get ready for this. And visit our mind-numbing website to give feedback on every single standard.

Parent FAQ List

There are ten questions, and zero real answers. Why should my kid take the test? Because the feds require it, NY students have always done so, oneofseveralmeasures, and it will measure college and career readiness and thereby guide instruction. So baloney, baloney, partial truth but so what, and baldfaced untruth.

Scores will tell you soooo many things. Like the ELA score can be broken into reading and writing! So granular! You can use the score to have discussions with your child’s teacher! The tests are IMPORTANT! Because reasons. And only 1% of school year to take them! Scores will be used to measure school performance, but not to affect your child’s promotion (or not). Teachers gave feedback on test questions! Questar is new and improved!

And guess what is not mentioned:

Can you guess which phrase does not appear in this section? If you guessed “Core” and also “Common,” you win! This portion does however discuss the college and career ready standards adopted in 2010, and puts the same old baloney in a pretty new chart without any evidence that any of these standards are a good idea. Also not included? Evidence that the BS Tests measure any of this stuff.