Update: here's what's happening in the white-hot capital of ed reform pushback - Chicago - around testing. Chicago is just one of many cities in many states caught in this muddle between existing state tests and the coming Common Core assessments. Why take both?
Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent a letter to parents on Wednesday telling them why they should not have their child opt-out of the ISAT and the NWEA/MAP tests, the second time in less than two months she has issued such a letter.
In a swift counter-move, parent groups that oppose high-stakes testing said the letters indicate that CPS leaders are worried about a growing resistance to standardized tests, with some parents saying their children spend too much class time on too many tests, with serious consequences tied to their outcome.
For the first time, the level of participation in the NWEA/MAP is part
of the district's rating system for schools, with schools penalized if
participation falls below 95 percent. In a separate letter to teachers,
Byrd-Bennett points this out.
Now, according to the letter, students scoring above the 24th
percentile on the NWEA/MAP will be eligible to test for selective
enrollment high schools. Sharkey said the new standard is low because
district officials are concerned about a lot of students doing poorly.
“These new Common Core assessments are brutal,” he said.
End of update.
I saw this in a comment and I thought I'd put it up:
My bigger concern is that the district seems to be "piloting"
standardized tests that might replace MAP in some populations/schools,
and not in others - and those kids still get to take MAP too! As a
former test taker for cash (seriously! paid to test standardized tests!)
I deeply resent having my child lose instruction time to take MORE
standardized tests than other kids in the district. At last count I
think he's at 9.
I urge EVERYONE reading this to actual send a
written request to their child's teacher, cc'd to the principal, asking
for a list of all standardized tests your child will take over the
course of the year, how long each takes, how many times they take it,
and what it is to be used for. I am finding that such a list does not
apparently exist, or at least I'm getting a bit of a run around on
getting an answer.
I understand a standardized test in the fall
and again in the spring to track an individual student's progress, and I
understand the state MSPs to track the district against all kids in the
state, but a lot of kids are taking a lot more tests than that ... my
kid has had at least 3 standardized math tests at this point that I know
about, but I can't get a straight answer about how many total are
planned for the year. What more can they learn about my child? How much
actual math teaching is lost to these tests, which must just cover the
same ground over and over?
The fact that despite asking twice, in
writing, no teacher or administrator has actually provided me with a
list of the standardized tests my child is expected to take this year is
actually kind of scary. I'm giving it one more casual written request
before I go the formal route.
Ask for the list from your school.
See what you get as an answer. I won't be surprised if few/no schools
actually have a spreadsheet or list they will provide upon request.
That's a great question - how many tests are SPS students taking this year?
Here's what Trish Milllines Dziko, founder and director of Technology Access Academy has to say (and boy, I love her frankness and am allowing some latitude because of it):
The madness of state testing is just getting worse!
When TAF Academy launched in 2008-2009 school year, our students took the WASL.
In the 2009-2010 school year the WASL was replaced by the MSP (measure
of student progress) for K-8th grade and the HSPE (High School
Proficiency Exam) for 9-12th grade.
In 2010-2011 the EOC1 (Algebra) and EOC2 (Geometry) exams replaced the math portion of the HSPE.
In 2011-2012 the EOCB (Biology) was introduced for high school to replace the science test.
Thankfully in 2012-2013 there were no changes and we actually could
compare our students' progress from one year to the next in core
Well, now for the 2014-2015 school year the HSPE will
be replaced by the Smarter Balanced test to measure reading and writing
skills at 10th grade. However it is not yet clear how the state will
approach current EOC math tests since Smarter Balanced also has a Math
assessment attached to it.
WTF? We're doing all this and not
one ounce of work on changing belief and behavior of adults. Not one
ounce of work showing principals how to be academic leaders instead of
building administrators. Not one ounce of work on creating academic
environments where students can thrive and feel respected. Not one ounce
of work on providing more effective support for teachers and staff.
Just keep on spending millions of dollars on stupid s*%t and the so
called "achievement gap" will continue because we're nibbling around the
edges instead of doing the real work!
And don't think for one
minute charter schools won't be effected by this nonsense. For
everything they have going for them, they are still bought into this
high stakes testing bulls*%t that is killing our kids.