Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How did the NY state exams go today? Teachers, parents, and students please respond

Image result for state exams

UPDATE: Apparently there was a major disruption of computer-based testing in many schools today.  No hard figures yet, but schools are being told by NYSED that they can reschedule the test on another day if they like.  Between the fact that New York students did significantly worse last year on computer-based tests than paper tests, the recent Questar breach of personal data from students who took the exams on computers, and this year's serious screw-up, the Regents should immediately suspend the use of computer-based exams.  The state tests are frustrating and stressful enough for children without adding this sort of disruption to their experience.  

Many teachers and parents reported that the ELA exams were too long, too difficult and too stressful -- with many kids working all day on the exams - up to 4-6 hours without a break.  For more check out the comments below.

How were the exams today?  Teachers, students and parents: please put your comments below about how the testing is going at your school.

We broke the Pineapple story in April 2012 from comments on my blog; here's a summary of the national scandal that ensued. 

In 2016, we also posted the critique of the PARCC exam from a NJ teacher that Celia Oyler originally posted and then took down after legal threats from PARCC.  I asked others to post it as well.  Many did but all of their posts, including Diane Ravitch’s,  had them taken down by Google  except for me, for some unknown reason.  It’s still up and has received the most page views of anything on my blog to this day.

It's important to hear your comments and views about the quality of the exam and how it's affecting kids. If you like, post anonymously, but if you're willing to talk to a reporter about your critique, you can contact me offline at leoniehaimson at gmail dot com.

From an upstate 8th grade teacher yesterday:

The 10 pages of Computer based testing assessment instructions took 30 minutes between reading and helping kids log on....at the end of the instructions, one student pushed his computer away and said I am done- I am opting out.


Anonymous said...

My son took his state test today. No gripes... he knows he's in school tonlearn and part of the process is taking tests. The school makes the rules, not the children and certainly not the parents. Don't use children as a pawn because you don't believe in these test. Take it up as a mature adult would do.

Anonymous said...

I " REFUSE" to let my child take an exam that is meaningless and serves no purpose except for the testing company making $. Will love to see more NYC parents opt out of their children from these exams? Parents become an advocate for your children because no one is going to do it for you!!!!! You are your child's voice and knowledge is power! Use it!

Unknown said...

A proctor of an upstate 3rd grade class said Day 1 was fine. Day 2 (today) it was "painful" for the proctor to watch as the kids struggled to type all day long, as it took many of the kids the entire day to finish typing. Day 2 3rd graders had six short responses and one extended response. That's a lot of typing. Every 3rd grader she proctored went to lunch and recess and then had to come back to go on the computer and finish testing for the rest of the day. This was both Special Ed and Gen Ed students.

Anonymous said...

The glitches were a bit of a pain for sure. Lots of logging back in. BUT the part that broke my heart was that I had kids literally work all day from about 10:00 when we were finally able to get on til dismissal with just a break for lunch. They could obviously get up and take a bathroom break, etc. but the test took them that long. Six short response and one extended is far too much for third graders in one day. That's my take on it. It broke my heart to see kids working that long and trying so hard. One even asked me if he could go back the next morning to finish! I am so proud of my kids but this is too much!!

Anonymous said...

I have heard from multiple dozens of teachers that this was basically two tests crammed into one today. I have yet to hear of students that were finished in under 2 hours. Most were still testing through lunch and even now.

Anonymous said...

Today was horrid! This test was worse than the tests in the past. The majority of students didn't finish in less than 4 hours, and several took the entire day without finishing. It was heartbreaking to watch.

Leonie Haimson said...

Here is a letter to parents from the Rye Superintendent .

From: Eric Byrne
Date: April 12, 2018 at 2:45:00 PM
Subject: Day Two of New York State ELA Tests

Dear RCSD Families,

Today was the second and final day of testing for the New York State English Language Arts (ELA) tests. Today’s tests contained short and long answer questions based on text passages. We feel the tests administered today contained text passages that were above the appropriate comprehension level for many students taking the tests. Furthermore, the questions about the text passages were poorly constructed, making it difficult for students to comprehend what was being asked of them.

Students across all grade levels struggled to complete the tests, even with the unlimited time allowed by the State. Many students were distressed and expressed frustration to teachers and administrators, both during and after the tests.

We have assured students, and I want to remind parents and guardians, that these tests do not count towards a student’s record. They do not go into a student’s permanent file. The results will have no impact on student grades or class placement.

As educators in a school district that strives to provide a student-centered learning environment that is supportive and nurturing, we feel strongly that we should not be asked to place students in the kind of setting created by today’s section of the ELA tests. I will be communicating this, along with feedback about the tests from students, teachers, and principals, to the State Education Department.

As always, if you’d like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to reach out to me at 914-967-6100, ext. 6271, or via email to byrne.eric@ryeschools.org, or to Sheryl Goffman, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, at ext. 6207, or via email to goffman.sheryl@ryeschools.org.

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Anonymous said...

Curious what middle school testing looked like in your schools today. It took a lot of our kids waaay too long to finish- there were 7 “constructed response” questions and an essay today, and after six hours we have kids who are still sitting there taking it. The length of the test was absolutely scandalous and threw off our whole testing schedule. Teachers were scrambling to cover classes all day as a result.

Anonymous said...

I gave out fifth grade ELA today- out of 26 students who tested today, 9 finished before lunch and 17 went after lunch. Six short responses and an extended response. Two of my students didn't finish by the end of the day. Ridiculous! One of my students said afterwards today when I asked how the test was: "It felt like jail."

Anonymous said...

We had kids testing past 3pm. 8th grade mentioned ‘metacognition’ which had kids scratching heads. Yesterday’s 6th grade asked kids to explain how two lines “contributed” to the passage - couldn’t that mean just about anything?

Anonymous said...

Why are people so against the test? Because it's long and sometimes difficult? I'm not understanding the negative attitude towards these tests. Is it simply because the kids have to sit and take an exam for a few hours? If so, these kids are screwed. God forbid they are forced to work outside their comfort zone for a couple hours. In my world we strive to get outside our comfort zone, as that is where the real learning and experiences happen. Why baby these kids and let them opt out?

Leonie Haimson said...

More observations of today's testing compiled in this google doc.


Leonie Haimson said...

Jody Braun tweeted @JettingJody

My last 4th grader finished at 3:10. She started at 9:30.

Unknown said...

Oh just stop. Unless you were actually in a school today and witnessed what we witnessed, you have no right to judge. Mature adults would fight to change these unfair tests!!!!!

Unknown said...

Did you see the test? Do you agree that a third grader should take between 2-4 hours to take a test
? Please stop judging unless yoh have actually been in a school redenrky witnessing this chaos. His is not babyign then. This is fighting for them to have a fair shot. Stop with the judgement.

Unknown said...

No to all of the above. These tests are not grade appropriate. Third graders should not be spending 2-4 hours working on 6 detailed paragraphs and an essay. They are just learning how to write paragraphs in third grade. Unless you were in a school today, you have no right to judge. Don’t you want teachers telling the truth? We need fair testing, not this craziness. You as a tax payer should be fuming. 43 million dollars plus a year is spent on testing. We are not babying these kids. Please just stop.

Anonymous said...

A number of my kids were still working 4 1/2 hours later. One of my top students was frozen unable to understand what was being asked on one question and kept looking at me to explain the question. I couldn't help him. Several students told me that they couldn't keep going. One kid had an anxiety attack. The parents that make their kids go through this are uninformed.. what informed parent would let their children take a four hours writing test? I don't even know what to say to someone who thinks that a 10 year old child should suck it up and write for FOUR and a HALF hours or longer. 10 year olds don't need to show that they can take tests that are longer than LSATs or GREs.

Anonymous said...

I believe there was a pretty major problem/inconsistency with the essay portion of the 7th grade state ELA exam last week. At my daughter's school they were told that they must not use additional pages, they must confine their answer to the two pages provided (actually less, because one page had the instructions on top). They were told not to use additional paper and not to write in the empty space of other pages.

I have since heard from students in 7th grade in other schools who were told to use extra paper, or the margins of other pages.

I contacted the school administration and they said they called the state the day of the test, got instructions to only use the two pages, and administered the test correctly. So what will happen to kids who used extra space?? Or, if it was allowed after all, why is my kid confined to less space?

I am gathering information right now and I will be opening an investigation with the NY Dept of Ed.

Anonymous said...

“I had the opportunity to take a practice grade 3 math CBT today. It sealed my decision to opt my children out. It was highly frustrating and difficult to navigate. The font was very small. At the beginning there were a multitude of directions explaining all the online "tools". Not all the answer choices always fit on the screen, so you have to scroll up and down to navigate the entire question with answers. On a two step word problem I was required to show my work. To do this you have to tap on an algorithm and then plug in the numbers. For some reason, even though I chose a vertical algorithm, the two numbers were not properly lined up, which made adding them pretty tough. Even with three adults looking at it we couldn't fix it. The problem also required carrying, and you basically had to do that in your head as there is no way to carry the extra ten to the next column. Also, I had to enter the answer from left to right, instead of adding the ones, tens, hundreds. These tests are already flawed in so many ways, and now we are adding extra anxiety to these kids. And how will the results not be invalid? How will we know if the kid really didn't know an answer, or just couldn't figure out how to navigate the computer? None of this is necessary for 8-14 year old children.”

Anonymous said...

From a 6th grade teacher.
She is the only 6th grade teacher in a rural school so she does not want to be identified.

“So frustrated with these damn tests. So I'm letting you know this because I would surely be fired if I started writing this all over Facebook. I have a college level reader in my class. He scored the highest possible score on the Star assessment back in January and he did it in 14 minutes!!!!! He was in tears on Thursday because he said one of the questions didn't make sense and he didn't know how to answer. I don't read the tests because it bothers me emotionally, so I didn't really know what he was referring to. I told him to go on and come back to it. He did. Another teacher who had to read the test to one of my students told me there were unclear sentences throughout, words she did not know like obeisance (which interestingly my students knew because we just finished reading The Raven), and a question that did not make sense. She said the phrase they were referring to was about the character riding through the sea and his clothes didn't get wet. They question asked what tone that phrase gave to the story. She said she had no idea! I'm sure this was what my poor guy was talking about when he didn't know how to answer it. Also, in the first day of testing product placement was in the very first story. Target. And there were so many questions with what the state likes to call "distractors", answer that seem plausible, but are not. Grrrr. Oh, and my 12 grade lever reader took 2 1/2 hours to finish the second test and she was the last one to finish the first test. This is a sixth grade exam.”

Unknown said...

I own a tutoring business in Brooklyn. We tutor students in grades 2 through college from a wide variety of schools.

I've been helping 7th graders prepare for the Math State tests. Two students reported to me that for the ELA test, they were NOT given a proper lunch break. One student (M.S. 88) was allowed to eat lunch in silence in the test room and return to the test as soon as she was done. The other student (M.S. 839) was allowed to eat while he continued working on the test.

Another student (M.S. 51) reported that he had finished by lunch time, but that several of his classmates had not. He said that when he was sent to lunch, they were relocated to the music room, which is well-known as a no-food area. He did not know when or if they got to eat lunch, and he was concerned that students who normally bring money to buy lunch in the neighborhood were not allowed to go out to do so.

12-year-olds were not given lunch? This HAS to violate child welfare laws!!! Also, since not all students across the state were denied a lunch break, this makes the testing conditions significantly uneven in a way that would undoubtedly affect their performance, and therefore invalidate the statewide results.