February 08, 2019

NYSUT's Testing Advocacy: Continuing the Fight

Source: NYSUT Communications
assessments

OPT-OUT FACT SHEETS. We recently updated our Fact Sheets for parents and educators on opting out of state tests. NYSUT fully supports a parent's right to choose what is best for their children.


While the APPR reform bill is a big step forward, NYSUT will continue its fight to reduce the state’s tyranny of testing.

The State Education Department’s grade 3–8 standardized testing — and the way it determines student proficiency — is badly broken and must change. It doesn’t make sense for third- or fourth-graders to spend more time taking an ELA test than older students spend on a Regents Exam or the SAT for college.

NYSUT’s advocacy on testing remains steadfast:

The state tests are flawed and invalid.

They don’t provide meaningful or timely information to parents and educators. They continue to mislabel and harm students and their local schools.

The state’s ELA and math tests are too long.

Though the Board of Regents shortened the grade 3–8 tests from three days to two, there are still too many questions.

Untimed testing can be cruel and developmentally inappropriate.

Now that the tests are untimed, educators report excessively long periods of testing time for many students — even 8-year-olds who sat for five or six hours to finish their work.

In many instances, the tests are developmentally inappropriate.

Our members report too many reading passages are above grade level, causing great frustration. Too many questions require inference skills that are simply above students’ developmental level.

Computer-based testing is problematic, being rolled out too quickly.

After a data breach last year, NYSUT wrote a detailed letter to SED and the Board of Regents, calling on them to put the brakes on computer-based testing. NYSUT voiced concerns about a lack of infrastructure and poor Internet capability in some schools and questioned whether computer-based testing accurately measures student learning — or just how well students can maneuver around a keyboard. NYSUT continues to oppose computer-based testing for grades 3–5.

Benchmarks mislabel kids and are invalid.

SED has failed to adjust the troublesome proficiency benchmarks to reflect changes in the state tests. The state’s measuring stick for determining ‘proficiency’ remains badly flawed, with students and schools being mislabeled.

The Tyranny of Testing

tyranny of testing

After numerous members voiced concerns about last spring’s testing debacle, NYSUT created a “Share Your Story” online submission form to allow educators, parents and concerned community members to share their testing experiences with State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and members of the Board of Regents.

The personal stories were so compelling that NYSUT prepared a special May 2018 report, The Tyranny of Testing, detailing the many problems with the state’s standardized tests.

To download the full report, visit www.nysut.org/tyranny.


OPT-OUT FACT SHEETS. We recently updated our Fact Sheets for parents and educators on opting out of state tests. NYSUT fully supports a parent's right to choose what is best for their children.

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