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New Standardized Assessments in New York Raise Testing Questions
posted by: Ruthie | October 16, 2012, 12:43 PM   

In New York, the eminent commencement of new “field tests” garnered the attention of several parents and caused the subsequent boycotting of their children’s participation in statewide testing. The story has yielded national headlines and has once again raised questions over the frequency of standardized testing in schools.


The field tests won’t actually measure student’s ability, but they will be used to select questions for future standardized test questions. The trial tests have angered parents who see the tests as an unnecessary stress on students.


On one side of the argument, the New York Department of Education views new standardized tests as both necessary and urgently needed. The field tests are being issued because the state has adopted new Common Core standards, with the former tests no longer reflecting this new information.  These new sample tests will help state authorities craft new questions for state assessments.


Similarly, many responses to the New York controversy argue in favor of the new standardized tests, underscoring that they provide a proverbial litmus test of the quality of education being provided by taxpayer money. One parent argued that standardized tests are “a way of life – from blood tests, to nursing boards – and the sooner students learn this truth, the better.”


The deputy chief academic officer in the New York City Education Department, Adina Lopatin, reiterated this opinion, saying, “We think the testing will have a positive impact in instruction across the city this year.”


On the other hand, a growing number of parents believe the tests are actually “ruining their students’ experience at school.”  Many mothers echo the sentiment of Lori Chajet, a Brooklyn mother, who objects not to the testing itself, but to the way testing is the primary source of evaluation for students.  “I want my schools to use tests to help instruction, to help find out if kids don’t know fractions, “said Chajet. “I don’t want my child to feel like her score will decide if her teacher has a job or not.”


This sentiment is not unique to New York. In New Jersey, a parent wrote a letter to the New Jersey Times, saying he was keeping his child home for the state standardized assessments. He vehemently opposed the test, protesting that, “The NJ ASK tells us nothing about [my son’s] ability or preparedness… to solve real world problems.”


While this controversy about standardized testing is nothing new, parents’ increased involvement has escalated the need to find common ground so that meaningful and comprehensive assessments are created and agreed upon by all.


Do you believe there is a “happy medium” with regard to testing?
Comment below.

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