PS41 PAC: Transparent Improvements Needed for State Tests!
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Transparent Improvements. That is what we ask for with the State Tests. We support our children and school and if the state, DOE, our school and our children are going to spend this much time, energy and money on these tests, then greater transparency and significant improvements still must be made.
Whether we elect to have our children sit for the state tests or not, we urge you to create real change and transparency around these tests. They should:
Be shorter/Fewer days. In response to parents concerns on timing stress, the time to take tests is now unlimited. So now, our children may sit even longer for the tests. Last year in our school a child sat all day for the test (taking a break for lunch). Even if children only take the previously allotted time, the tests are still twice as long as a college bound high schooler will sit for the SAT (college admissions).
Not take our teachers out of the classrooms. To score the tests our school either takes teachers out of our classrooms for 4-5 days or pays for the privilege of keeping our teachers teaching.
Be learning tools. Individual results of these tests should be timely and easily accessible learning tools for teachers and parents and not create an unbearable burden to school administrators and parents for greater learning. They should also accurately assess our children. After the outcry from parents and over 500 Principals in NYS, including our own, regarding questions about the soundness of the test questions, the test vendor and tests have been changed. As it is the first year for these new test, how will we test the tests to ensure they are more accurately assessing our children?
Be productive in their use. The continued high stakes reality of these tests for middle school admissions creates real anxiety for many children. And while temporarily on hold, the threat of using State Test evaluations for teacher evaluations still looms. This proposals make no sense as they not only evaluate teachers who don’t teach math and English, but because they also create a teach-to-the-test mentality and take away our Principal's ability to evaluate her staff.
We are not against testing. Our school is constantly assessing our children and we support our children and our school. Your responses to these issues will show us, your constituents, how you support them as well.
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