Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The field tests are coming! The field tests are coming! Opt out says testing expert Fred Smith
I just wanted to call your attention to the stand-alone field tests that are coming in June. This is the fourth year in a row that SED and Pearson have followed this questionable approach. And each year they do it without informing parents about the field tests.
The list of schools is here. Change the Stakes also has information about the 1,013 schools and grades that have been targeted to give the ELA and math field tests. The window for administering the tests is from June 1 through June 10. Some schools have been tapped to give the tests on two grade levels. I have projected that 135,000 children are targeted to be guinea pigs in this sample of schools. A sample opt out letter is here.
Please remember that taking the tests is not mandated. There is absolutely no requirement for kids to take them--and they have proven to be a flawed way to develop the Core-aligned exams that children have had to endure since 2012. The CtS web site also provides information about the nature of the field tests and why children should not take them.
The key to putting an end to this practice is to insist that parents be made aware of the tests and asked to fill out a consent form if they want their children to participate. But, to date, both Albany (SED) and Chancellor Farina have not notified parents about this field testing scheme and have not sought their permission. Continuation of the stand-alone field tests has depended on keeping parents in the dark.
We must spread the word to all parents, especially those whose children are in a targeted school, that the tests are coming, and parents have the right to reject them. It is a safe and responsible step to take along the path to greater parental involvement and empowerment.
Best, Fred Smith