Posts tagged "high-stakes testing"
June 7, 2012
The parents and children who attended the rally came from some of the 61 elementary and middle schools where anti-testing activists said families were boycotting “field tests” from Pearson, which began on Tuesday.
Over 400 parents and children protested Pearson’s field tests, which are intended to help design future tests.The company has a $32 million state contract to produce tests.
Parents at the protest — many from the Upper West Side, Brownstone Brooklyn, and Lower Manhattan — said they are fed up with the number of tests that their children have to take. Parent organizations such as Change the Stakes, Time Out From Testing, and Parent Voices New York helped build support against the field tests.
“We organized classroom by classroom, school by school,” said Michael Ravitch, a parent from P.S. 321 in Brooklyn. “Many of these parents haven’t been politically involved before but everyone shares this feeling and needed an outlet to express their disgust for these useless and meaningless tests that are eating up the resources of these schools and wasting our children’s time.”
“I thought maybe there’d be 50 people here,” said Ravitch, who is the son of vocal education activist, Diane Ravitch. ”I hope that this is just the beginning.” (more…)
April 20, 2012
State education officials said this afternoon that they’re tossing out six questions related to the now-famous “Hare and the Pineapple” passage that appeared this week on the state’s eighth grade English exams.
In a statement, Commissioner John King said that due to the “ambiguous nature of the test questions” from the passage, students wouldn’t be penalized – or awarded – points on the final scoring of the exams.
But King also defended the passage, saying it wasn’t as confusing as it has been presented publicly so far. King, who appeared in Brooklyn this afternoon at Clara Barton High School to hear from students enrolled in a medical pathways program that partners with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, offered another reason the tests weren’t counting.
“The questions make much more sense in the context of the full passage than the excerpts that folks have seen,” King said. ”But given the press coverage we won’t be able to use those particular questions.” (more…)
March 20, 2012
The architect of many of the metrics the city uses to assess teachers and measure student growth spent Monday evening defending his work against a steady stream of criticism from parents and educators.
Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky sat on a three-person panel titled “High-Stakes Testing 101″ hosted at The Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies and The Brooklyn New School. The panel included two principals, Long Island’s Sean Feeney and Elijah Hawkes formerly of the James Baldwin School in Manhattan, who have publicly criticized the city’s and state’s use of testing data to measure student growth and evaluate teacher effectiveness. Hawkes was one of about 170 city principals to sign on to a petition Feeney authored against the state’s use of student test scores in teacher evaluations.
That system, in which student growth on standardized test scores count for at least 20 percent of teacher ratings, was officially signed into law last week in Albany.
Polakow-Suransky said the parents and principals were right to have qualms about the new system. He said the tests currently in use are imperfect and acknowledged, as the principals’ protest points out, the evaluation system allows for scenarios in which a teacher can have the full confidence of her principal yet still be rated ineffective if her students show zero growth.
“I agree with you that principals should not ever be in this situation where ultimately their judgment gets trumped by a mechanistic formula,” Polakow-Suransky said after Feeney raised the issue. “I think that’s an important thing that we need to look at as we work to implement this.”
But for the most part, the department’s second in command defended the city’s accountability system against concerns that test scores are being used inappropriately and that longer tests are negatively affecting schools’ curriculum and culture. (more…)