EW parents speak out against the State tests. The following is in the Williston Times.
State tests unfair to kids, teachers
Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:40 am
Next week, the third and eighth graders throughout New York State will begin taking the New York State Assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
Here are some facts about the New York State standardized tests:
• Since 2010, the amount of time spent on average testing has increased 128 percent, for third graders it has increased 163 percent.
• The tests are too long for students. Third and fourth graders are allotted 70 minutes for each of the six days (seven total hours of testing). Fifth through eighth graders are allotted 90 minutes for each of the six days (nine hours). (A third grader is eight or nine years old.)
To put some perspective on the time being spent - the MCAT exam to get into medical school is a four and half-hour test. (Taken by an adult 21 and 22 years of age and older.)
• Students with disabilities that receive extended time may be tested 10 and half to 14 hours in grades three and four and 13 and half to 18 hours in grades five through eight.
• The questions are ambiguous. As quoted from the www.engageny.org website, third grade ELA manual: “Answer choices will not jump out; rather, students will need to make hard choices between “fully correct” and “plausible but incorrect” answers”.
• The tests are costing the school districts tens of thousands of dollars and taxpayers millions of dollars while big corporations (like Pearson) are creating test prep materials and exams are making billions of dollars (from our tax dollars).
• The pressure for student achievement is causing more teachers to teach to the test.
• Testing in this manner at such a young age does not lead to better test takers but instead careless test takers. Children have reported randomly filling out Scantron sheets.
• Teachers, parents and administrators don’t see the tests after they have been graded and therefore the tests cannot be used as a learning tool to guide instruction (this is the sole purpose for testing).
• The results and scores are vague and don’t give clear explanation of the child’s actual performance.
• Your child’s test results in no way affects a child’s right to Academic Intervention Services (AIS).
• Teachers are pulled out of classes to grade exams, so there is more time away from their students.
Our public school system is slowly being eroded. Public schools are the foundations of our democracy and the very core of most communities. Elementary school is a time for children to explore, question, wonder, discover, to develop a thirst for knowledge, to help them become enthusiastic and passionate lifelong learners.
Test prep and testing in this manner are taking time away from the meaningful and wonderful experiences that children can be having in school. In addition, it places unnecessary stress on the children with no educational benefit.
Parents you have a choice, a right and an obligation to guide your child’s education and to protect them. You can refuse the test. A parent has the right to refuse the tests for their child, according to the SIRS (Student Information Repository System) manual, on page 63 and the tests will be graded as such.
If you choose to refuse the test and want more information and guidance you can find it at www.nysape.org or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the words of John Dewey, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his child, that must we want for all the children of the community. Anything less is unlovely, and left unchecked, destroys our democracy.”
Christine Cozzolino, East Williston
Parent of K, third and sixth grader
Former Math 7-12 educator
Current College Math Professor
Sarah Mizrahi, Albertson
Parent of K, fifth and sixth grader
Former Guidance Counselor
Christine Conte, East Williston
Parent of sixth and ninth grader
Meryl Fordin, writes to keep you informed of the happenings in the EWTA as well as in public education; the mundane to the insane.