Public School State Mandated Tests

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Tinijocaro, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. gina2000

    gina2000 anonymous

    Jul 30, 2000
    I think the big problem with comparing recognition for academic achievement with recognition for athletic achievement is that the student who does not achieve in athletics can quit. We don't encourage students to quit school.

    Having said that, I have no problem with recognizing academic achievement. I think it should just be done more quietly than heralding it throughout the halls.
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  3. Pigeon

    Pigeon DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2005
    No, they don't. The kid who has the top Spanish achievement gets an award. The other 300 kids who took Spanish do not. The kid who has the highest achievement in a regular level Math class gets an award. The other 29 kids in her class do not. The kid who gets the highest achievement in honors Math gets an award.

    The other 29 kids in honors math have the recognition of their peers that they made it into honors math, but they don't get an award. That's sort of the way the top students are inherently recognized.

    If we must use the loathsome sports analogies, it's more akin to the winning team of Division 1 getting a trophy, but so does the winning team of Division 2 and of Division 3.
  4. Pigeon

    Pigeon DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2005
    Agreed. The NYS tests the OP posted about are nothing the students study for or have materials to take home and work on. They are on top of a raft of other testing. Our superintendent told the parents that these things are for assessing the schools more than the students, but that's a lie. They use them for tracking.
  5. ccgirl

    ccgirl DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2009
    Just like there is only one valedictorian though. :confused3 One student gets valedictorian, the other hundreds do not. That's just the way it is. I really don't see an issue with it. Just like "student of the month". My DD has never received it. Oh well....I think it's still great to recognize the student of the month. I agree with the PP that stated this is like the everyone gets a trophy mentality. I signed up my DD for competitive swim not only because she loved it but because she could learn to lose as well as win. I believe they are both imporant life lessons.

    I think these tests are about making sure schools are teaching what they are supposed to. I still don't understand why you wouldn't want to share the scores with children though.
  6. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    I apologize. I saw the line about the kid who was "most improved" got an award as did those who had the "best effort" (how do they quantify that?) and thought it sounded like "let's hand out awards so kids feel good about themselves."

    I'm sorry for my misunderstanding.
  7. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    I agree with the bolded. I don't understand how you make sure "Johnny" in NYC is learning the same basics that "Suzy" in Albany without them taking the same test.

    As far as sharing the scores with the kids... I don't remember doing it with the youngest. It's not that I wanted to keep the scores from them, it's that I don't think they'd grasp the significance of it. When the kids get to middle & HS, sure.
  8. snowy76

    snowy76 <font color=blue>I do a panic dance<br><font color

    Apr 13, 2004
    If the goal is consistent instruction in New York, I suppose there has to be some way to measure it consistently statewide. But I don't think these tests do that (NYS teacher here).

    When they're testing about talking pineapples... ;)

    Similarly, ten years ago kids who thought a ham radio was a radio made of ham scored poorly on the 4th grade ELA. And then there was the year that the state arbitrarily changed the passing threshold - AFTER the kids took the exam - thinking they understood kind of work would be considered proficient by NYSED... NYSED suddenly told them it wasn't.

    So to answer OPs question, our kids saw their scores out of curiosity, but they understand it means close to NOTHING about their abilities and skills. The tests are flawed year after year. And kids are socially promoted anyway.
  9. Tinijocaro

    Tinijocaro DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    OP here:

    For those who are interested in the whole "State Testing" thing and how it impacts the education of our children, read the following, warning, it's long.

    From a Principal to parents about the new APPR...

    Dear Parents,

    On behalf of the teachers and staff of the Wantagh Elementary School,I
    would like to welcome you back to school. I anticipate that the
    academic year will prove to be an exciting year.

    We are all enthusiastic about the arrival of our new
    D’Angelo,and the promise of a fresh vision for the academic
    well-being of
    our school district. Also,Mrs. Chowske will be joining our WES staff,
    functioning as our school’s Elementary Supervisor [aka,Assistant
    Principal]. The future is bright as we move forward with the
    of our Writers' Workshop program expanding into our fourth grade and
    kindergarten. This year we will also initiate a new K-5 math program
    enVisionMATH. This program not only meets the national Common Core
    standards for Math but does so with enhanced technological experiences
    our children.

    One significant issue as we move into this new school year is that we
    will,at times,find it difficult if not impossible to teach authentic
    application of concepts and skills with an eye towards relevancy. What
    will be teaching students is to be effective test takers; a skill that
    not necessarily translate into critical thinking –a skill set that
    necessary at the college level and beyond. This will inevitably
    with authentic educational practice –true teaching.

    Unfortunately,if educators want to survive in the new,Albany-created
    bureaucratic mess that is standardized assessments to measure teacher
    performance,paramount to anything else,we must focus on getting kids
    for the state assessments. This is what happens when non-educators
    governor and state legislators, textbook publishing companies (who
    the assessments for our state and reap millions of our taxdollars by
    so),our NYS Board of Regents, and a state teachers' union president
    involved in creating what they perceive as desirable educational
    and decide how to achieve and measure them. Where were the opinions of
    teachers,principals,and superintendents? None were asked to
    the establishment of our new state assessment parameters.
    Today,statisticians are making educational decisions in New York State
    will impact your children for years to come.

    Standardized assessment has grown exponentially. For example,last year
    York State fourth graders,who are nine or ten years old,were subjected
    roughly 675 minutes (over 11 hours) of state assessments which does
    include state field testing. This year there will be a state mandated
    pre-test in September and a second mandated pre-test in January for
    kindergarten through fifth grade students in school. In April,
    through fifth grade students will take the last test [assessment] for

    Excessive testing is unhealthy. When I went to school I was never
    over-tested and subsequently labeled with an insidious number that
    or placed me at a Level 1,Level 2,Level 3 or Level 4 as we do today.
    want your child to know their assigned ‘Level’? What would the
    impact be on
    their self-esteem and self-worth at such a young age?

    Of additional concern to me is the relationship between children and
    teacher as we move into an era where teacher job status is based upon
    student assessment scores. Guess what,some children will become more
    desirable than others to have in class! And,conversely,others will be
    desirable. There, I wrote it! That concept is blasphemy in our school
    teachers live to prepare children to be productive learners and
    society. Teachers state-wide are worried that their relationship with
    students might change when they are evaluated based upon their
    test scores. Teachers want to educate students,not test prep them for

    Additionally,what should be shocking to you as a parent is that state
    national databases are being created in order to analyze and store
    students’ test scores –your child’s assessment results and your
    school attendance! Do you realize that the state has mandated that
    classroom teachers must take attendance during every math,ELA,social
    studies and science lesson –everyone,every day for the entire school
    Those records are sent to the state and become statistically part of
    teacher evaluation process. It will no longer be enough that your
    ‘was in school.’ Rather,if he or she was at a band lesson or out
    room for extra help in reading and a math lesson was taking place in
    class,he or she will be noted as absent from that instruction. That
    will be
    factored into the teacher evaluation. Thinking of taking your child to
    Disney World for a week during the school year or leaving a day or two
    early for a long weekend skiing? Think again! Those absences will be
    recorded as illegal,missed seat time and sent to the state –as
    mandated by
    the state.

    This is all part of the massive,multi-million tax-payer dollar teacher
    evaluation processes started by our Commissioner of Education,our
    governor,and our state legislators and fully supported by
    employed by the state and assessment-making companies. No one in
    selecting to see the end of the journey; that 98 percent of the
    graduating from Wantagh Schools go on to two- and four-year colleges.
    myopic view is focused on the ‘parts’,not the whole. Who will
    suffer? Your children!

    The balance must now be struck between maintaining the special nature
    of an
    elementary school setting and the cold and calculating final analysis
    rendered by statistics. The use of assessment data to drive
    a tenet of good educational practices. The use of assessment data to
    a yearly prognostication of teacher competency is ridiculous.

    You have the greatest impact on your child’s school performance.
    teacher only has your children for 180 days per year and for less than
    hours per day [minus lunch and recess times,art,music,and physical
    education classes]. It is our expectation that as partners in your
    education,you will be doing your part as well. As part of any
    evaluation of
    student performance,Albany must simultaneously be asking parents the
    following questions:

    Does your child read at home each day for at least twenty minutes?

    Do you read to your child every day?

    Are math facts gone over daily until they are known automatically?

    Is there a quiet location in the house for homework time and do you
    your child’s homework each night?

    Is your child sent to school ready for the day with a good breakfast
    following at least eight hours of sleep?

    Are after school activities monitored so that your child is not
    ‘overbooked’ and their stamina compromised?

    Is your child in school daily [except when they are sick] and not
    of school for any reason other than illness?

    We will continue to have field trips, assemblies,and special school
    but some events will be curtailed or rescheduled with an eye toward
    times during the school year to maximize student seat time. However,it
    unmistakable that we have entered into a new era of educational
    with higher stakes than ever before.

    I look forward to working with you and your child as we start our new
    school year because….together we make a difference.

    Thank you.

    Don Sternberg,Ed.D.


    Scott L.
    Social Studies Dept.
    Batavia High School
  10. nchulka

    nchulka <font color=purple>it was funny when the creepy gu

    Jun 9, 2010
    I'm not sure how I feel about standardized test anymore. I used to always enjoy getting the results (DD had very high scores). This past year (4th grade) she came home crying on the day of testing. The teacher made a big deal about not going on to the next section and stopping after section 1. DD misunderstood (probably wasn't paying that much attention :rolleyes1) and she stopped after the first page. She said she just sat there and read her book and never noticed that the other kids were working for much much longer than she had. So she basically ended up missing an entire huge section of the test! Later in the day when they turned to section 2 to start she realized what she had done and told the teacher but it was too late. The teacher said it was a timed state test and there was no way to go back and re-do it. So she had a giant section of her scan-tron blank! Her score fell from the 98th percentile in 3rd grade to 48th percentile in 4th :scared1: I have never heard anything from anyone about this but I would have thought the school would check into a child falling that far! I'm sure it makes the school/teacher look bad, not to mention DD, all because she wasn't paying attention to the instructions!!
  11. Southernmiss

    Southernmiss <font color=green>I am hazed everyday<br><font col

    Aug 27, 2011

    This is obviously a rant from the principal to all the parents of his school and now people across the country. I am not sure that were he our principal, I would appreciate his blatant, honest opinons and would question who has ticked him off. He has also indicated that many of the factors in testing are beyond the school's control and are the responsibilities of the families, such as attendance, not really a new concept, but in his letter has been now spelled out to the families which I think is a good idea.

    At any rate, the Common Core Curriculum is being implemented across the country. I attended the meeting at our school and I am skeptical of the whole pushing of yet another testing program on our schools. But for the sake of the education of my school age children, I am going with it in the hopes that it could result in good outcomes for the education system as a whole.

    The idea that my child in Mississippi is learning the same concepts as a child in Washington DC or state and that this may benefit children who move from one region to another in that they will be learning about the same material at the same time is encouraging.

    I am not sure that I agree with the whole idea that the Common Core Curriculum will be teaching children the way that employers and colleges want them to learn (at least that's the way it's presented to us) and that most learning will now be done in small group settings. My jury is still out on that one.

    But what all this has to do with the original question of the thread, I am not sure.

    By the way, our elementary and middle school children have been grouped in class based on their state test scores, so the kids can easily figure out who among their classmates scored well on the test by what teacher they have.
  12. allison443

    allison443 DIS Veteran

    Mar 13, 2002
    I have a kids are out of elementary school for a number of years so haven't dealt with these tests in a while...

    I often see people complain that the teachers have to "teach to the test" but
    what does "teaching to the test" mean? For example if the test measures certain 4th grade math skills, is the teacher drilling those skills over and over? But isn't that a good thing, if they are math skills the kids need to know? :confused3

    Or if the test requires a student to write an essay from a prompt, the teacher spends time teaching the kids to write coherent essays. Why is that a bad thing?

    Is it the timed nature of the tests? The way the results are used? The things that are covered on the tests? Do teachers feel they don't have time to teach other things because they aren't covered on the test?

    I get that some people are not good test takers, due to the pressure, the time, etc. But if a test has 50 math problems and student A gets 50 correct, and student B gets 10 correct, is that a valid measure of saying student A is proficient and student B is not (putting aside the "poor test taker" situation). Not saying this should be used to judge the teacher though-the proficiency/lack of proficiency could be due to a number of reasons!

    If any teachers/parents can answer, thank you!
  13. allison443

    allison443 DIS Veteran

    Mar 13, 2002
    To me this sounds like he's only objecting to testing because it affects teacher evaluations.

    I added the red for emphasis....;) I think he does have valid points about the parents' responsibility for their kids' education! The teachers can only do so much.
  14. aprilgail2

    aprilgail2 Guest

    I don't have to share them LOL- my daughter gets the mail before I do so she calls me at work when mail comes addressed "to the parents of...." and I tell her to be my guest and open it and let me know what it says. She took the test so why in the world wouldn't she get to see the results. Plus the results reflect what level of classes she gets the following year, she was put into the advanced program in 6th grade for her scores on the 5th grade state tests, in 7th grade she went into the honors program based on the 6th grade state tests. They also picked kids based on the 6th grade state testing to take the SAT's the following year with Johns Hopkins. If they scored a 2 or lower in grade school they went into the extra help program in the grade school.
  15. Becky2005

    Becky2005 <font color=darkorchid>I actually thought they mad

    Nov 4, 2004
    No I don't...other than the ACT test which they need to know their score since college is all based on that.

    Otherwise -- it is completely irrelevent to anything. In the past, they have gotten the results the following year. Why do I care that you need to work on 3rd grade math when you are already 1/2 done with 4th grade?

    Usually I predicted the outcomes anyway -- one of my children have a reading disability. I get the test and it comes back with "they may need work on their reading skills" -- really? Gee, I thought all the IEP meetings we had gone to for addressing that was for the fun of it. I just want to do a "DUH!!! I already knew he wasn't grade level!"

    Interesting to read the way they are scored. I never really shared them not because they are some secret but they aren't scored similar to "You got 98 points" - it is always some weird percentage and then they go on to explain how it isn't a reflection of anything other than how your kid did on that day of the test. This is where their strong points are, here is where they could possibly use some work. It's worded very vaguely so it wouldn't really mean anything.
  16. Becky2005

    Becky2005 <font color=darkorchid>I actually thought they mad

    Nov 4, 2004
    This is where I have a bit of issue of solely going on test scores. I had a child that ended up with Math help in 6th grade based on his testing scores but he has a reading disability & math was his best subject.

    Basically he FLEW through the extra help class and was doing mixed fraction problems while others were still trying to master subtraction in that class. There was no way he needed to be in that class, although he loved it because he would come home with fists full of rewards since it was such an easy class for him. He had to take it in place of the electives that all 6th graders have (which is art/music). He was able to be pulled out of it after 1st semester as it really wasn't doing anything for him.

    I know they have based things on testing scores for a long time though. I always know the story of DH having to take remedial reading in college based on an assessment test. The teacher asked him the first day "what are you doing here?" & when he was told he was required to take it based on the test, the teacher told him "You have an A, you don't need to come back".

    As I always attempt to tell my kids -- school is NOT real life. Just survive it and attempt to pass to get your diploma.

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