Monday, March 3, 2014

Assessment Score Reports: Move Along, Nothing to See Here.

As we enter the 2014 testing season, we need to focus on the main reason for the opt out movement:

The educational damage to our children.  

Do we want our children to receive an education focused primarily on only ELA and math? This problem occurs in our elementary schools and permeates some middle school programs as well.  Do we want test preparation and skill building?  Are Science, Social Studies, and the Arts important?  Does your child get recess or free play time?

Why do schools emphasize two subjects over a well-rounded education for our children? Read more about high-stakes testing here.

Does the current NYS Assessment system help our children acadmically?  The NYS Education Department and some local school officials might state yes, but let's look at what information the exams provide to the stakeholders.

Children: Students do not get to see the corrected or scored tests.  The results come months later, long after children have forgotten about the assessments.  For any formal or informal assessment of students: classwork, homework, project, or teacher created test, students want immediate feedback.  The longer it takes for students to receive the results of any assessment, the assignment will have less meaningful impact on that child.  How does the assessment system help students?  It does not.

Parents: NYSED officials would have you believe that the State Assessments provide valuable information to parents across New York.

Do Parent Score Reports provide the information that this NYSED official claims?

Yet parents are provided with an extremely vague score report that provides little information about their child's progress.

Here are Parent Score Reports from the 2013 State Assessments.  Do these documents help a parent determine their child's specific strengths and weaknesses? As a parent we need to see the exact questions and student answers to assist in determining our child's progress.  How does the assessment system help parents?  It does not.

(Click to enlarge the Score Reports below)

Teachers: Parents would assume that educators would at least see a detailed report to help them "inform instruction" as state education officials claim.  Shockingly teachers do not.   Teachers are not even allowed to discuss or disclose test questions and answers or they could be fired.  Teachers receive a vague set of data, without specific questions and student responses, and this information arrives months later, after your child has moved on to another teacher.  How does the assessment system help educators?  It does not.

Teacher data report: No test questions or student answers supplied.

So if the NYS Assessments do not help students, parents, or educators, what is the point of all the time and energy spent on prepared and taking the exams? 

I give a detailed look at Score Reports and Assessments here.

I will close this entry with a quote From our 2014 Opt Out letter:

"We have no issue with properly written tests that monitor our children's progress but the current assessment system does not help parents or educators achieve that goal. Despite what state education officials repeat ad nauseam, teachers are provided with very little data from the state assessments to “inform instruction”. Parents receive a vague score report that does not assist families in assessing our children's academic progress. The secretive nature of the state assessments contributes to the need for significant reversal in education policy in our state and nation. It short, the current New York assessment system has no educational value for the students of our state. "