The Field Tests
In April, high stakes testing took place and selected classrooms will undergo yet another round of testing— field tests —at the beginning of June. These experimental tests have no implications for the students and schools, but are designed to try out new test questions, Tom Dunn, communications director of the Education Department, told HuffPost. The resources at the end of this post list articles describing the nature of the field testing at length. Below, I summarize the facts that are important to parents.
- The tests serve a private company to develop more tests. The residents pay for the time, use of facilities, teachers, and students. The developed tests are then sold to districts.
- The test takes away 40 min. of instruction time, not including teacher’s preparation.
- After the tests are collected, there is no feedback given to teachers so they could review them and assess what has to be improved.
- Some boards of education (Fairport Central SD, September 19, 2012; Springville-Griffith Institute Central SD, April 9, 2013) adopted a resolution opposing the field testing. Also some NYC principals refused the tests and sent them back unopened. A national resolution opposing the high stakes testing has been also launched and is available to be signed.
- Many field test refusal letters circulate on the internet. This is one of the samples. Or, children are recommended to select all answers as A’s, or B’s, etc.
There are many articles written about effective education systems. They mention nations as Finland and South Korea as examples (among others). What’s currently happening in this country is the exact opposite of what those nations are doing. One. They don’t test their children to death. Two. They don’t measure effectiveness of teachers, or principals by test results.
Two grades in our school district 12 were randomly selected to undergo the field tests. It’s 5th grade in Davison Ave. school and 8th grade in Our Lady of Lourdes. Both grades will be tested in Math.
ResourcesNew York Times (May 2013)
The Buffalo News (May 2013)
Huffington Post (May 2012)