Recently our Irvington 3rd - 8th grade students took the new New York State mandated English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams. We are very concerned by widespread reports of deep flaws in these new tests, including testing above grade level, tests that are far too long, and the promotion of specific commercial products or brands.
Despite these reported flaws, the state refuses to release the full tests for public review. The state imposed restrictions on teachers and administrators, threatening harsh consequences if they speak about the specifics of the tests. (For example: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/opinion/the-problem-with-the-common-core.html? _r=0.)
With the tests kept from the public, these challenges cannot be addressed and resolved. On a more basic level, parents cannot even request that a child's test be checked for scoring accuracy. Frankly, the State Education Department (SED) is avoiding any effort to be transparent regarding the NYS testing. Our children are therefore risk being victims of potentially unjust assessments that could have negative impacts on them and on our school district.
These tests have serious consequences: they may impact whether a child receives AIS (Academic Intervention Services) and whether our teachers can retain their jobs. The tests also determine whether a school is deemed to be performing poorly, which can affect funding to our school district.
This last consequence can also reduce property values since a poor school rating can make a town less desirable to new buyers.
Until 2011, complete ELA and math tests were all routinely made public, with the full tests and scoring keys posted on the state's website, nysedregents.org.
Now only a small percentage of questions, selected by the state, are released. Withholding this critical information limits parents' understanding of their child's results and hinders teachers' ability to assess how they can support their students’ growth.
If you agree that full transparency should be reinstated and that the tests should be made fully public again, please click here and sign the form letter. The letter will then automatically be sent to the following government leaders:
Governor Andrew Cuomo
Commissioner of Education John King
Board of Regents
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch
Our State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
State Senator & Chair of Education Committee John Flanagan
State Senator Jeffrey Klein
State Senator Kenneth LaValle
State Senator Dean Skelos
Our Assemblyman Tom Abinanti
Assemblywoman & Chair of Education Committee Catherine Nolan
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver