Thousands of Students Opt Out on the First Day of N.Y. State TestsThe exact numbers aren’t in yet but the buzz on the street is that MANY parents are taking a stance against standardized testing and choosing to not subject their children to these stressful assessments. One Long Island teacher said out of 22 students in her third-grade class only 7 took the test today. Other reports from around the state are showing comparable numbers. The discussion of just what percentage of students need to opt out to make the testing invalid is HOT. In my mind the numbers will be skewed no matter what that percentage turns out to be, the reason – the educated parents make up the majority of those who have opted their children out. I predicted this trend back in 2012 when I wrote this blog: Testing Students With Special Needs. This blog post on Edutopia was written way back in 2005, entitled, Standardized Testing Fails the Exam, "If enough educators -- and noneducators -- realize there are serious flaws in how we evaluate our schools, maybe we can stop this absurdity." by W. James Popham who goes on to write: Testing forms the bedrock of educational assessment and represents a commitment to high academic standards and school accountability. You can't know where you're going unless you know where you are. But when the financial and emotional stakes associated with standardized tests are disproportionately high, this laudable goal gets distorted. Teachers begin teaching to the test simply to raise scores, often at the expense of more meaningful learning activities. And when the tests are too narrow a measure or aren't properly aligned to standards, they provide little concrete information that teachers and schools can use to improve teaching and learning for individual students. This quote is as relevant today as it was over a decade ago; the testing fiasco has only gotten worse. Anyway, you slice it, you get the same rationale, theses tests were not designed to rate students or teachers, and this is a well-known fact that has been associated with the inception of this standardized concept. More About: What the ‘thoughtless’ N.Y. government just did to teachers: Standardized Testing and Its Victims: Norm-referenced tests were never intended to measure the quality of learning or teaching. The Stanford, Metropolitan, and California Achievement Tests (SAT, MAT, and CAT), as well as the Iowa and Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS and CTBS), are designed so that only about half the test-takers will respond correctly to most items. The main objective of these tests is to rank, not to rate; to spread out the scores, not to gauge the quality of a given student or school. The quote above written by Alphie Kohn sums it all up and it was written 15 years ago! What are your thoughts on this controversial subject? Did you opt out your own child? What experiences did you have as an educator this year? Please share in the comment box below.
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.
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