Posts tagged "state tests"
April 26, 2013
Students and teachers have more than perfect spring weather to celebrate this weekend. They are also celebrating the end of this year’s state tests, which finished today with a set of open-ended math questions.
Last week, students in grades three through eight sat for three days of English exams that got harsh reviews for being overly long and confusing at times. The tests seemed to fulfill the warnings from city and state officials that the transition to new standards called the Common Core would cause scores to plummet.
But on Wednesday, the first day of the math test, teachers said the test had been surprisingly easy — so easy, in fact, that some doubted that it actually reflected the challenges of the new standards.
After two more days of math testing, teachers said the exam had required more of the critical thinking skills that the Common Core emphasizes.
April 24, 2013
All’s quiet on the Common Core math test front, for now.
After last week’s state reading tests drew sharp criticism, anxiety ran high as students headed into the first of three days of math testing today. But educators are saying the first day was uneventful — and possibly even easier than they expected.
“There was a little bit of a sigh of relief when they started going through the test,” David Baiz, who teaches at Global Technology Preparatory Middle School, said of his eighth-grade students. “They felt like they were capable of doing it.”
Jose Vilson, who teaches at I.S. 52 in Washington Heights, tweeted just after the exam, ”My kids found the test pretty easy, and this time, I trust it.” (more…)
April 17, 2013
Across the state, and in some New York City schools, pockets of students and parents are “opting out” of this month’s reading and math tests to protest the tests’ increasing stakes. In some school districts where officials openly shared the criticism, the tally of dissenters could be significant, according to early reports.
But while the opt-out movement has gotten renewed attention in the last two years, since the state began preparing for tougher new tests, it isn’t new. In 2001, at a time when state testing was confined to a few grades and was not used to assess students or teachers, two thirds of eighth-graders at Scarsdale Middle School in Westchester County refused to take the exams. Parents, educators, and local school officials had encouraged the boycott.
The New York Times reported at the time that the protest was logistically complex:
This was the first of several days of eighth-grade tests that parents had vowed to boycott in protest of what they see as a test prep culture and the lock-step instruction it engenders. … (more…)
April 16, 2013
As the first day of this year’s state testing period came to a close this afternoon, teachers from across the city took to Twitter to share their takes on whether the exam is shaping up to be as tough as officials have warned.
State education officials caution that discussing the contents of the tests, the first to be tied to the new Common Core standards, could be grounds for termination for teachers. But teachers offered a thorough review without getting into specifics. Many said students struggled to complete the reading test in the allotted time. Others, in multiple grades, said some questions seemed to have multiple correct answers.
Valerie Leak tweeted, ”7th[-grade] texts were manageable but Qs were v difficult. kids left guessing w 5 min left. Close reading required w not enough time.”
“Close reading” is a skill that the Common Core emphasizes, and students across the city have been practicing with it all year. But Binh Thai, an eighth-grade English teacher at University Neighborhood Middle School on the Lower East Side, told GothamSchools that the technique and others that the Common Core calls for worked against some students today. (more…)
April 15, 2013
A small coterie of parents who oppose high-stakes testing expect to gain a little traction across the city as elementary and middle school students prepare to take state tests tomorrow — tests that city and state officials have warned for months are likely to result in plummeting scores.
Six parents who said they were representing parents from 33 schools across the city gathered in a small office in the Upper West Side’s Bloomingdale Family Program preschool today to announce a boycott of Tuesday’s tests, the first to be tied to new standards known as the Common Core.
“We are fed up with the efforts that go into test preparation,” said Cynthia Copeland, the parent of a fourth-grader at a Lower East Side school.
“I have a sixth grader who’s passionate about math and language arts and it’s killing his passion,” said Evelyn Cruz, a parent from an East Harlem school. She said her son has a 97 average in math and does well on standardized tests, but the testing environment is causing him stress and making him less enthusiastic about school. (more…)
April 15, 2013
Success Academy students aren’t scared of higher standards, they proclaimed in step routines, songs, and call-and-response routines during a pep rally held at the Washington Heights Armory on Friday. (more…)
April 10, 2013
A group of young girls dressed in gray pleated skirts and bright blue t-shirts ran to the side of the gym and turned to face some boys who were also getting into position. The girls waited for their cue and then loudly chanted, “Boom! Watch me rock that test!” They shouted the phrase over and over while pretending to push the boys, who represented the test, to the other side of the gym. (more…)
April 8, 2013
In the three years since New York officially adopted the Common Core learning standards, students have tackled tougher assignments, teachers have remade assignments, and schools have rethought when topics should be taught — all in an effort to prepare students to show they have mastered the new standards.
Now, the first test of whether the teachers have been successful is here.
Next week, students in grades three through eight will take their first set of Common Core-aligned state exams, in English. The following week, they’ll sit for three days of Common Core aligned math tests. The scores will help decide everything from whether the students will be promoted to where they will attend middle or high school.
“They’ve been talking about the Common Core for a couple of years now,” said David Baiz, who teaches math at Global Technology Preparatory Middle School. “This year is really the year when we’re staring down the barrel of the gun.” (more…)
April 4, 2013
Teachers and students feel very worried that they do not know what the tests will look like this year. My students read in the news that scores will drop this year and that the test will be harder, but when they ask for reassurance, we don’t have answers to give them.
October 25, 2012
The city’s very low college and career readiness rate for black and Hispanic students is a statistic usually cited by advocates seeking to discredit the Bloomberg administration’s education record.
But when asked to measure the true value of a high school diploma in New York City Wednesday night by education reporter John Merrow, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch turned to the familiar statistic to convey her concerns.
“That, to me, is tragic,” Tisch said, after rattling off the numbers.
Merrow pressed her to account for the disparity between the city’s graduation rate, which is over 60 percent, and its low college-readiness rates. “Why isn’t this fraud?” he asked.
“I didn’t say it wasn’t,” Tisch said.
The exchange was part of a 90-minute public dialogue in which Tisch also criticized families who opt out of state tests, set firm limits about the city’s request to certify teachers, and proclaimed that the city and its teachers union would reach a teacher evaluation deal before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mid-January deadline. (more…)