So testing continues today. My local newspaper, the Daily Gazette in Schenectady, reported the Capital Region did not experience any attendance issues — as some had predicted — with the English Language Arts testing yesterday. Amid the test-stress anxiety, some parents did instruct their children not to take the tests. The Albany Times Union reported a Chatham school in Columbia County expected at least 100 students to opt out. Here’s a Newsday article that 244 students, nearly one-third, of SouthSide Middle School in Rockville Centre opted out. On Twitter, there was a report that 44 students refused to take the tests at the Springville Middle School in western New York. Dozens of students in the lower Hudson area refused to take the tests.
Here’s one report that features teachers’ feedback on the test. NYSUT has gone on record to make sure the public knows the absurd fact students are taking high-stakes standardized tests based on material they have not been taught.
Feedback I received from an extremely good friend who is a reading teacher is quite chilling. One student she knows is an excellent reader, but a glance at his test paper showed he may have marked as many as 13 out of 30 wrong. Of course, the teachers are not sure because, remember, State Ed no longer allows teachers to grade their own students’ state tests.
Most of my friends’ students struggle with reading so, naturally, they struggled with the test. “One student only answered six of the 30 questions,” she told me. This reading teacher agrees with more rigor and higher standards, but she does not think these tests are fair. She can’t give many details because the test must remain secure.
“I can tell you that third-grade students after reading selected passages then are given a statement and are asked which paragraph most supports the statement,” she said. “That means they have to go back and re-read and, for 8- and 9-year olds, I thought it was far above the level they are at developmentally.”
Coincidentally, this friend just learned she was rated as highly effective. Yet she is certain not a single one of her students will pass the English Language Arts tests. A veteran teacher, she already can see the headlines and hear the television reports when the student scores are revealed. “Not a single student passes, yet teacher is rated highly effective,” she surmised.
She is in a small, rural district so everyone will know who she is. Actually, since “everyone” knows, respects and trusts her, I’m betting she will be okay. I’m betting parents will realize the problem was the test, not the teacher. They will realize the test was unfair.
Talk about unfair. A seventh grade teacher said one of the worst aspects was reading 11 minutes worth of test directions to three special-needs kids. “They were lost before they even opened the test,” he said.
Test directions are not secure. You can find out a lot about the tests on State Ed’s website.
Rather than make you go through all that, here’s one sample of what teachers can tell students with a disability.
For Book 3, you will be doing some reading and writing. Read the passages and answer the questions.
All of your answers must be written in Book 3. If you need more space to continue or complete an answer, you may use any available blank space in Book 3.
Please make sure to clearly note and label the continuation of your answer. Also make sure that you are not
using space that has been provided for another question. Remember to write complete and thorough
answers and include details and examples from each passage.
Make sure to read the questions carefully in both Book 2 and Book 3. Start with Book 2 and when completed, continue with Book 3. Most questions will make sense only when you read the whole passage. You may read the passage more than once to answer a question.
When a question includes a quotation from a passage, be sure to keep in mind what you
learned from reading the whole passage.
You may need to review both the quotation and the passage in order to answer the question correctly. When you see the words GO ON at the bottom of a test book page, go on to the next page. When you come to the word STOP at the end of Book 3, you have reached the end of today’s test session. You may go back and check your work in both books. You must work independently, and you may not speak with each other while the test is being administered.
Are there any questions?
What did you think about the tests?