In a letter to State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino voiced strong opposition to SED's plan for next year's grade 3-8 ELA and math assessments. The posted schedule "leaves us with real concerns about the number of days scheduled for the grades 3-8 tests and the decision to place the ELA testing in March," Fortino wrote on Friday. "(This) will only increase the concerns of parents and educators."
Fortino noted the 2017 posted schedule ignores recommendation #13 of the governor's Common Core Task Force which called for reducing the number of days and shortening the duration of state standardized tests. The department's own "Testing and Reduction Report" in June 2015 contained 11 recommendations to reduce testing -- and #8 specifically addresses shortening the tests to reduce anxiety surrounding the completion of the test. And, NYSUT's Task Force on Standards, Modules and Assessments concluded in its final report released in November that the tests are too long, especially for young children.
Fortino panned the idea of moving ELA tests to March, saying they were moved later in the year in 2009 after years of pushback from the field. She urged the commissioner to seriously reconsider the schedule and "make meaningful change in the testing system and restore the confidence of teachers, parents and students ... by showing you are listening to their concerns."