Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Debunking NYSED's talking points

A good look at the reality instead of the 'spin' provided by NYSED officials. 

Presentation by Long Island Principal Sean Feeney which debunks much of NYSED's talking points.

My look at how NYSED "cherry picks" data for its agenda.

Mr. Feeney's presentation:

Accountability in the Age of Pearson: Advocating for What works in Schools

Refusal (opt out) guide updated.

Your family can REFUSE the New York State Assessments:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this document.

You can download the PDF file here:
   or view/download below.

Additional information for refusals:

Here is important information on the "999" refusal code from NYSED documents. 

According to the 2014 Educator Test Guides your child can read when completing (or refusing!!) the test.  This is a local school decision, so check with your school.

When Students Have Completed Their Tests
Students who finish their assessment before the allotted time expires should be encouraged to go
back and check their work. Once the student checks his or her work, or chooses not to,
examination materials should be collected by the proctor. After a student’s assessment materials
are collected, that student may be permitted to read silently.* This privilege is granted at the
discretion of each school. No talking is permitted and no other schoolwork is permitted.
(Located on page 9 in the ELA guide and page 7 in the Math guide.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Testing & Common Core forums throughout NYS

Several forums on testing and the Common Core have been held and many more have been scheduled across New York State.  Unlike the meetings convened by Commissioner King you will hear from real experts in education.  The presenters will have the opportunity to give detailed discussions on the state of our schools instead of two minute speeches followed by Commissioner King defending his policies.

Visit New York Allies for Public Education for more information:


NYS Allies for Public Education represents many education groups from across the Empire State.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Let's clear up the mystery on the 999 Refusals


There is much confusion over students who "refuse" or opt out of the NYS Assessments.  Schools are often unsure how to proceed when first confronted with families who choose to boycott the state assessment system.

 The 2013-14 SIRS Manual makes it very clear:


"Refusal: Students who refuse to take the entire test must be reported at the local
level with a final score of "999" and a standard achieved code of 96, indicating refusal,
whether or not there are any response records. Assessment records for these students
do not move to Level 2 of the Student Information Repository System. These students
will be considered to have "no valid test score" and will be counted as not tested in
verification reports and for accountability calculations. Students who refused to take one
or more but not all sessions or parts of the test will receive no credit for the session(s) or
part(s) they refused to take, and a scale score and performance level will be calculated
based on the questions answered."

The key quote explains it all:
" These students (refusals) will be considered to have "no valid test score" and will be counted as not tested "

If your child "refuses" to take the NYS Grade 3-8 ELA, math or science assessments it is as if your child did not take the exam at all.  Your child does not receive a zero or one as their score.  As a result of having "no valid test score" your child cannot be compelled to enter the Academic Intervention Services (AIS) program because they did not receive a score to qualify them for the extra help. (Note: if you refuse, you can still work with your child's school to receive AIS if you feel your child needs the extra support)

Use this information when you communicate with your child's school.  Some administrators are not aware of these provisions, while others may use scare tactics to convince you not to opt out or refuse.  Stick to the facts, they appear right in the SIRS Manual.