High-stakes testing is now firmly established as part of our public schools. And the stakes keep getting higher. Students’ admissions to middle school and high school are based on these tests, school rankings are too, and teacher evaluations are also now deeply enmeshed in the grades their students receive.
Predictably, and importantly, a backlash has been gaining momentum, spurred this spring by widely publicized test questions that were ridiculed by students and teachers alike and then discarded by the state.
Last week EVCS hosted a talk on the impact standardized tests are having on progressive schools like ours. (You can find some resources from that meeting on our website.) Since then, some parents at EVCS have been asking, What can we do?
If you are one of those parents, then read on …
Opt Out of the Field Test
Some NYC elementary school students will be taking a field test in June — this is a test test. The company that has been contracted to create the standardized tests for New York State, Pearson, wants to evaluate the effectiveness of their questions for next year by administering a sample test (which will not be graded or count in any way toward a student’s record).
On the one hand, this kind of field testing might help them avoid the badly-worded questions that plagued this year’s tests; on the other hand, a lot of students, teachers, and parents would rather not add one more test to one of the few school days left in the year.
EVCS has not yet been asked to participate in the field test, but we are not sure that we won’t be. If you would like, you can register your complaint by filling out this letter to Principal Robin Williams, or writing your own. Robin will be keeping a close eye on the number of parents who take this route, and will appreciate their backing if she is asked to administer a field test.
Protest Pearson on June 7
Several organized groups are planning a protest at Pearson’s NYC headquarters on June 7 (which is a day off from school) to express dissatisfaction with these extra field tests.
WHEN: Thursday, JUNE 7TH, 11 A.M.
WHERE: PEARSON, 1330 6TH AVENUE (between 53rd and 54th Streets)
Parents are encouraged to bring their kids, posters, and energy.