OPPOSING MANDATORY STAND-ALONE “FIELD TESTS”

Dear Community Member/Parents,

As you are likely aware, mandatory state testing of school children has increased dramatically over the past decade, with children in grades 3-8 now taking at least 6 days of math and English standardized tests, in addition to state-mandated local level tests.  The state now wants to increase required standardized testing by requiring that schools also administer stand-alone “field tests.”

Field tests are essentially product development, where the test creator, Pearson, tests out (or “fields”) possible questions for use on future exams; they do not help the student or the school.  Prospective questions can be embedded within the actual exams that count, so students don’t know which questions count and which are “field” questions.  In contrast, NY also utilizes “stand-alone” field tests, where the tests comprise only prospective questions.

Under current law, districts are not required to give these tests; the contract between NY and Pearson specifically says that “field test participation in NYS is not mandated.” The current law should not be changed.  Our children are already subjected to too much standardized, required testing, and the trend must be toward reducing testing, rather than forcing yet another round.  Too much testing has led to stress on students, as well as significant losses of classroom instruction time.  In addition, ironically, even the state has admitted that stand-alone field tests produce unreliable data, as the children “are not as motivated if they know the exam has no consequences.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/education/to-sharpen-student-testing-another-round-of-tests.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.  And this bad data leads to bad actual tests — bad actual tests that count. (Some of you may recall the infamous “talking pineapple” question — which had been field tested!)

The state and Pearson have many other ways to test proposed questions, including for example, having all questions  embedded in actual tests or paying willing districts to administer.

Please consider copying and pasting the letter below into your own email and use the appropriate emails that are provided, asking that they keep the current law as is, protecting our children from even more standardized testing, and preventing the proliferation of tests based created from unreliable data.


To:

Town of Ossining Town of Mount Pleasant
NYS Senator – 38th District David Carlucci
Carlucci@nysenate.gov
NYS Senator – 40th District Greg Ball
gball@nysenate.gov
NYS Assemblyperson – 95th District Sandy Galef
Galefs@assembly.state.ny.us
NYS Assemblyperson – 92nd District Thomas Abinanti
abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us

 

New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King
commissioner@mail.nysed.gov

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch
regenttisch@mail.nysed.gov

Board of Regents
RegentsOffice@nysed.gov

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett
regent.bennet@nysed.gov

Regent Dawson
regent.dawson@nysed.gov

Regent Phillips
regent.phillips@nysed.gov

Regent Tallon
regent.tallon@nysed.gov

Regent Tilles
regent.tilles@nysed.gov

Regent Bendit
regent.bendit@nysed.gov

Regent Rosa regent.rosa@nysed.gov

Regent Young
regent.young@nysed.gov

Regent Cea
regent.cea@nysed.gov

Regent Norwood
regent.norwood@nysed.gov

Regent Cashin
regent.cashin@nysed.gov

Regent Cottrell
regent.cottrell@nysed.gov

Regent Finn
regent.finn@nysed.gov

Regent Brown
regent.brown@nysed.gov

New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo
gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us

To send an email to all the Regents and Commissioner King, copy and paste:
jking@mail.nysed.gov, regent.tisch@nysed.gov, regent.bottar@nysed.gov, regent.bennet@nysed.gov, regent.dawson@nysed.gov, regent.phillips@nysed.gov, regent.tallon@nysed.gov, regent.tilles@nysed.gov, regent.bendit@nysed.gov, regent.rosa@nysed.gov, regent.young@nysed.gov, regent.cea@nysed.gov, regent.norwood@nysed.gov, regent.cashin@nysed.gov, regent.cottrell@nysed.gov, regent.finn@nysed.gov, regent.brown@nysed.gov

Subject: FOR INCLUSION IN PUBLIC RECORD re: Mandated Participation in NYS Field Tests, 45 Day Comment Period

 

Email Body:

We urge every member of the Board of Regents to reject the proposed amendments to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education that would require New York State schools to administer any stand-alone field tests that may be prescribed by the Commissioner.

Our students and their school schedules are already over-stressed by the number and duration of currently required State assessments; the time dedicated to State testing in grades 3-8 has increased dramatically since 2010. New York State must take the necessary actions to incorporate field test questions into currently required assessments, with the caveat that Pearson, not the taxpayer, bears any additional costs.

Stand-alone field tests to “test the test” will not improve education, but instead will penalize our students with further deficits in much needed instructional time. School children should not bear the burden of remediating flaws in Pearson’s current testing model and of any contractual oversights in the Pearson agreement. Furthermore, Ken Wagner has been quoted as saying that stand-alone field tests are not as statistically accurate as embedded questions.

It is neither “fair” nor “valid” to require students to sit for these stand-alone tests. Please join us in taking a stand against overloading students with additional testing. Testing is not learning. Please withhold your support from these harmful amendments.