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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ELA exam 2nd day: major snafu - what should now happen? Leave your comments below!

The notice below was sent by NYSED this morning at about 9 AM, after many students had already started taking the ELA exams and some had already completed them.

As the teacher quoted below said, @QuestaristhenewPearson. What is wrong with these testing companies, and where is their accountability?

 Please leave your comments below about what you think should happen with these exams,  and if you have any other observations about day 2.


From a teacher:  For Day 2, the 3rd and 5th grade books were both missing the planning pages for the extended response. We're allowed to hand out scrap paper, but this contradicts the directions as written, so very confusing. The testing coordinator also received an email AFTER administration had begun, letting us know that there wasn't enough space given for 5th graders to write their essay and that we could give out lined paper and staple it into the books. Since Questar is handling this year's printing, this doesn't bode well for the future, no? #questaristhenewpearson

From a MS principal: The problem in middle schools is that the blank pages are after the lined pages and kids know (are trained) not turn ahead in the book. It is a production mistake that was only noticed after the early completers were already done. Many students will plan on the lined page and then either raise their hands or write on the blank pages. If kids see no prompt to write, they aren't going to ask for paper.

The message was sent at 9:09 AM from SED and I saw [it] at 9:30 ...when most students are done and have turned in their books.... Even if an administrator is on their email all day (which they aren't) it is too late to walk around on tests that started at 8:00 to interrupt testing rooms to correct the mistake.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

My 7th graders were unaware of the error in the booklet. Teachers did not receive updated instructions. I asked my students later in the day after hearing about NYSED's error and my students stated they did not do any planning prewriting for their essay because there was no page to do so. As a result of not organizing their thoughts and ideas before composing their essay did many students get a lower score?

So the question is, are the tests invalid? Students in some schools were given the update instructions, others not. How is that fair? How can we compare NYSED's beloved data?

At the very least, any essay questions from today's testing should be thrown out and not counted toward the student scores.

H. Gudzan said...

Unacceptable !!!

Hallie G. said...

Why would the state issue an update such as this AFTER the testing had already begun??! The students were already testing by 8 AM. The statements are contradictory, to say the least...and not having enough space to take notes or write brings added stress upon the students! My son told me that he barely had any room to write!

pat said...

My son just came home and told me he ended his essay with, "where is my planning page?! I want it!"

Anonymous said...

Opting-out would have solved the problem!

The more money QuestaristhenewPearson gets the more mistakes they make!

They are the epitome of the Peter Principle - rising to the level of incompetency. What an embarrassment!

Unknown said...

Totally unacceptable!

Anonymous said...

Who wan go see lion King with me

Anonymous said...

Just another reason to opt out. As educators,we do not gain any useful information from these flawed exams!

Anonymous said...

Also, I would like to add:
This year's change on test duration is utterly ridiculous!
My third-grader finished the test in half an hour, and he had to sit quietly not doing anything for a half-day for the test to end.
In order for education to work, we do not need to go to the extreme of no time constraint on the exams. As an educator myself, I am now more concerned about my child forming a bad habit of being sluggish in the exam. If a child does not understand a question, giving no time limit to him/her does not help at all.
How about increase the test duration to 30 minutes more instead of no time limit?
In real life, everything has deadlines. It would be better to train our children to be efficient than spoil or bore them with no deadline.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of a monumental waste of time for students, teachers, and administration. Maybe we should evaluation pearson and NYSED on this test...I would say they are developing.

Leonie Haimson said...

Today's error message from NYSED:

> From: Peter Swerdzewski
> Date: April 6, 2016 at 5:23:18 PM EDT
> To: PUBADMIN@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV
> Subject: [NYSED] Important Notice about Labeled Planning Pages for Tomorrow's ELA Book 3 Exam
> Reply-To: Peter Swerdzewski
>
> Colleagues,
>
>
>
> Thank you again for your hard work on behalf of the students of New York State to make this year’s Grade 3-8 assessments happen! As with today’s Book 2s, tomorrow’s Book 3s also do not have a labeled planning page. Please see the attached notice about how to address this.
>
>
>
> Warmest regards and best of luck to all your students on tomorrow’s ELA exam and next week’s math exam.
>
>
>
> Pete
>
>
>
> --
>
> Peter Swerdzewski
>
> Assistant Commissioner for
>
> Assessment, Standards, and Curriculum
>
> New York State Education Department
>
> peter.swerdzewski@nysed.gov

Anonymous said...

The administration at our school figured out the problem with the 7th-grade booklet before the kids were given the test so was able to communicate that information to the teachers, who then told the kids.

Anonymous said...


For anyone who thinks this wasn't a big deal, one of my students left out the entire extended response essay because he thought "that was the planning page that wasn't going to be graded".

The tests should be thrown out.

Anonymous said...

I have to share the school environment in the middle school where I work. I work for a suburban school in the state where there is a fairly large amount of opt outs. It is also disrupting a normal instructional school day where the students are being thrown into the auditorium for at least 2 hours to either watch a movie (if something is hooked up) or they play on their iPads, phones, draw, read or book or just talk for the remainder of the time.

It also disrupts the bell schedule where period 1 begins at 10:00am and each period is 29 minutes long, as opposed to 43 minutes long. The students lunch periods are now pushed back an extra 43 minutes due to the schedule change.

It also disrupts teachers who travel from one building to another who do not follow the same schedule as the school(s) who are administering the exams.

Anonymous said...

No planning page included demonstrates the lack of review by the state to examine the creators of the tests'work...obviously they blew it... children are taught to pre write and plan their ideas before beginning their essays this is a major blunder and perhaps to the creators of the test of the ones that need to go back to school and take tests



Anonymous said...

I guess Elia's claim that "every item on the test has been reviewed by at least 22 NY state educators" was a lie. Trust her? I think not!

Anonymous said...

My 8th grader confirmed that there were no planning pages. She said that the directions said you couldn't use loose leaf paper so she just didn't plan. Again the children suffer because of incompetence. Thank god she was already accepted to a good HS!

Anonymous said...

How in the world did NYSED not review all test packets before they were boxed and shipped?! If it's too onerous for the grownups it's way too onerous for the students. One child at our elementary school tested 9 a.m.-1 p.m. today!

Anonymous said...

As you can tell, no "teachers" we're involved in making the tests and there will be no teachers grading the tests! Disaster!

Anonymous said...

It seems the Organisation; the structure and at least the procedure needs a neutral review. ��So I would suggeest a BDC. We are not part of this yet but I follow the post over the last week and wonder how a govermental process can include so many mistakes and unconvinences

Julie Foster said...

I would like to add that I am a special education co-teacher for grades 1 and 2. Year after year I am pulled from my teaching assignment to administer these tests. My at risk students need daily instruction. They miss out on 6 days of instruction because I am pulled. There is a substitute crisis across the nation, so no subs are available even if my school would get one for me. I just don't get to teach and my younger kids suffer.

Julie Foster said...

I would like to add that I am a special education co-teacher for grades 1 and 2. Year after year I am pulled from my teaching assignment to administer these tests. My at risk students need daily instruction. They miss out on 6 days of instruction because I am pulled. There is a substitute crisis across the nation, so no subs are available even if my school would get one for me. I just don't get to teach and my younger kids suffer.

Dee Silv said...

Trash these damn tests and let them learn. Waste of instructional time. They want to run schools as businesses and failed on preparing the materials that the entire experience is linked to ... The tests ... Where is the proofreader? Where is product control? Disgusting waste of valuable educational time.

rochesterteacher said...

Day 2 6th grade...same thing. No planning page. Test started at 8:10 and BOCES called at 9:30 to tell our building there was no planning page. Our admin got on the PA at 8:15 and told the kids there was no planning page for 6th graders, they should use the front cover...hardly any room for anything...ridiculous. About 6 blank pages at the back. Why couldn't someone freaking proofread a copy of this exam before it prints. REALLY???? Also...in the teacher instruction manual...it says to bubble clearly and if you make a mistake to erase. The scan trons and directions we have tell kids not to erase but to X out and re-bubble. Seriously? Get your shit together people.

Anonymous said...

These tests should be invalidated. A score can not and should not be generated from a flawed exam. Teachers are being rated on an exam that has already been pre-determined to have a high percentage of students fail, now they make "mistakes!" I think not! Andrew and all his friend are a bunch of morons!

Anonymous said...

because no one noticed the error until after the test began...we were never notified in the classroom

Anonymous said...

Like @JulieFoster above, I teach a special population. I teach mostly ELLS. In April and May, I will be pulled out for over TWELVE school days of instruction to administer NY State Exams (6 Days), The NYSESLAT Speaking Test (3 Days), NYSESLAT Listening, Reading, and Writing (3 Days). After one year in the US, these students survive the shell-shock of a new culture, language, school, etc. only to be battered by testing. It's appalling!

Anonymous said...

We got the email at 10. We had kids testing until 2:20.

Anonymous said...

The no-time limit on these test is insane! It is a symbol that our education quality is too low that our students can not finish a test within reasonable time limit.

Anonymous said...

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/schools/despite-problems-ela-tests-remain-valid-new-york-state-says-20160406

Leonie Haimson said...

another error

from Data specialist:

Please also be advised, if you haven't already uncovered this, that the Grade 5 Scoring Leader Practice Set file is corrupt. Questar will be sending guidance to the principals via email tomorrow.

Unknown said...

I hear all these complaints and I agree but wouldn't it be better if everyone took a stance and boycotted these exams? There is no law they have to take them so if students are opted out they will not be able to test them. Take a stance instead of complaining. That's what sends the message.

Anonymous said...

To be fair-I am not happy about the errors but until it was pointed out I did not realize it happened. I proctored 8th grade and there were planning pages in the booklet. They were completely blank and I did not think about them being after the stop page until after the tests had been turned in. As it can cause big problems, NYSED has explaining to do.

Reading selections included: an article titled The Silver Dream Machine by Jan Greenburg and Sandra Gordon. It had a couple ambiguous questions and I had to flip back and forth to review the test to answer what I thought was the "best" answer

Also was an excerpt from "Stranger From the Tonto" by Zane Grey, written in 1956. Cannot verify a lexile level other than AD or "Adult Directed" Had to look up what a crag was afterwards. Vocab words provided were burro, labyrinth, verdure, perturbation and austerity. One question asked was poorly placed as the lines that were baing asked about fell on pages you had to flip to look at.

Lastly was Winter Hibiscus by Minfong Ho. Found it on a Maryland website used as a 12th grade resource in 2008. Students had to make connections of symbolism for different characters in the excerpt.

Anonymous said...

Unacceptable Their Isn't No Excuse. The Children is already scared taking the test and now you send test paper with out papers they need. You sure PASS THEM ALL CAUSE IT'S YOUR FAULT NOT THE CHILDREN. SHAME ON YOU ALL

Anonymous said...

Unacceptable Their Isn't No Excuse. The Children is already scared taking the test and now you send test paper with out papers they need. YOU SHOULD PASS THEM ALL CAUSE IT'S YOUR FAULT NOT THE CHILDREN. SHAME ON YOU ALL

Anonymous said...

I think Quester would fail all of those tests and should now get AIS. Then they should have to sit through the tests again next year until they get it right then maybe just maybe the testing will decrease and the kids will have an opportunity to learn instead!

Anonymous said...

Questar is not yet the vendor or grader or developer for 2016. Their contract starts in 2017. Another lie by Elia or Farina or both to make parents think the quality has improved. Utter Garbage!

Anonymous said...

One 3rd grader had to sit in the library until 3 pm because he had not completed the writen responses. He was given a lunch break.

Maria Quail said...

Don't these idiots have proofreaders????

Unknown said...

4th grade extended response question was inaccurate. Asked how the character's feelings toward SHEEP changed in the story. Was supposed to ask how their feelings about sheep HERDING changed. Character's feeling about sheep was that they smelled badly, that feeling NEVER changed. Feelings about the job of sheep herding changed though, which were excited, nervous, etc. Tests were much harder, longer, and not even close to developmentally appropriate. People still making alot of money off them though! Poor kids.

Anonymous said...

7th grade exam included a passage called "Excerpt from Buddha Boy" that was absurdly difficult to comprehend because it was completely removed from the context of the book it was torn from. 3 characters were named who had absolutely no connection to the events in the passage- I found myself reading it 4 times, trying to understand who they were and what I missed. Had students literally crying in frustration.

Anonymous said...

They should survey the schools to see how long students tested for. Day 2 and 3 we had some test from 9am to 2 PM.

Anonymous said...

Who is getting the kickbacks? I know the teaching in all subjects are not grade/age appropriate at least through grade. I do agree that we need to get past "See Dick run", and that students need to be taught to think and reason, not just repeat bits of information, but the people who developed this whole program should be fired and taxpayers get their money back. Who contributed what to whose campaign?

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I am a parent of a 4th grader. During the arduous Day 3 essays, she was the last one to finish writing. Before she could finish, her proctor (who is also her teacher) asked her in front of the class when she expected to be done. The kid was already feeling pressured by the fact that everyone else finished their test. I am probably overly sensitive and should just let this slide, but it seems the teacher was annoyed at having to endure such a long test period. I guess the untimed test is not sitting well with the administrators.

Anonymous said...

My students noticed at 8:50 am that 7th grade Book 2 had no planning page. Administrators were told. Nothing was done for over an hour.

Meanwhile, students eat breakfast between 7-8 am. Some are working till 1 pm or later on the exam. Lunch is over. Not hot food for them (and we are a title 1 school) and no break. Eat and go to class. The students said the proctors were complaining they were hungry and wanted lunch. Really? What about the kids?

anonymous said...

Anonymous said... How did teachers get the email, if they are not supposed to be on their phones, laptops, tablets, etc.? They are supposed to be monitoring the students.

rochesterteacher said...

We didn't. The local BOCES office called our principal/test coordinator's office. They interrupted the test via the PA system to tell everyone that they just got a call there is no planning page in the 6th grade test like it says in the directions. BOCES suggests using extra paper, but the directions from NYS say not to. SO...just have the kids use the space in the front inside cover (Super small space). There were about 6-8 blank pages at the back. I had my kids just label the very last page "Planning page"....Like it took a Rocket Scientist! Lol!

Anonymous said...

Some teachers were never told about the missing planning pages, so students in some schools were never told how to deal with this situation. The whole thing is pretty unfair to the students, teachers and schools. Regardless of whether or not these scores are used to punish students and teachers, they do reflect on everyone. The scores follow the students and teachers and are used to rank and grade schools.

Anonymous said...

I want my child to learn how to take tests. My child came home saying " I was bored to tears sitting there for the test to end." Most children in the class finished the test within 45 minitues, and they had to sit there waiting for the last child to finish two hours later.
This is insane. If as a parent, you are not doing your job to keep your child on par with the class, do not bore our children by dragging us down.
What is the point of giving no time limit on tests? Find a better way to teach, to raise your child, not by lowering the education standard!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Unacceptable Their Isn't No Excuse. The Children is already scared taking the test and now you send test paper with out papers they need. You sure PASS THEM ALL CAUSE IT'S YOUR FAULT NOT THE CHILDREN. SHAME ON YOU ALL

April 7, 2016 at 12:20 AM

This is the result of no common core evaluations and no teacher evaluation. " The children is already scare" should read the Children "ARE " already scare- " .. and now you send test paper with out papers they need" ????? . You sure PASS THEM ALL CAUSE IT'S YOUR FAULT NOT THE CHILDREN" . It should read YOU SHOULD- not SURE ....

This advocate for no testing has benefitted tremendously from not testing or evaluations .... lets dumb down are kids.