ALBANY, N.Y. May 30, 2014 - As tens of thousands of students statewide prepare to begin vfield testing" questions for future state exams, New York State United Teachers President Karen E. Magee said today more time should be devoted to teaching - not testing - and called for an end to student participation in field tests.
The State Education Department is administering field tests from June 2-11 to try out prospective standardized test questions developed by the giant testing company, Pearson PLC. These tests do not count for students, teachers or schools and are solely used to "test the test." Stand-alone field tests in English language arts and math will be administered in most schools to students who took the state's 2014 Grades 3-8 Common Core ELA and math tests.
"New York's over-reliance on standardized tests continues to have a negative effect on our students," Magee said. "Teachers and parents are united in our concern that excessive state standardized testing takes important time away from instruction."
Magee called on the state to grant the SED's request for sufficient resources so it can develop a bank with enough age- and grade-appropriate, reliable and valid questions to entirely eliminate the need for field testing.
Magee noted a number of school districts - Comsewogue and Ossining, for example - are reportedly boycotting this year's field tests.
"NYSUT applauds those school districts that have recently opted out of this year's field testing. Just as we support parents' rights to opt their child out of the state tests, we support those districts that are opting out of the field tests," Magee said. "Why should New York state students be unpaid researchers for Pearson?"
NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino, who oversees the union's Research and Educational Services Division, added, "These upcoming field tests mean that, once again, too many students in New York state will be spending time on standardized tests that take time away from real learning."
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
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