As I hear from educators at my school, baseball practice tonight, and via social media, today’s Day 2 of the New York State ELA Assessment was an unmitigated disaster.
From reports far and wide around the state I have cobbled together a list of issues reported to me or from various facebook groups:
- Very long instructions, ranging from 20-25 minutes. The instructions were over three pages long and teachers are required to read word for word. Heard from educators that students were burned out before the exam started. How can we expect children age 8-14 to listen to instructions for that length of time. Most adults would zone out.
- Many students did not finish the exam. Hearing reports of 20-30%. This resulted in high levels of stress. Students were clearly upset and feel like failures. Teachers are very concerned that their evaluations will be poor because their students did not complete the exam. When I create a new test, I always side on the short side to make sure my students can finish in one 40 minute period. With the millions going to Pearson you think they would know this?
- Corporate Commercial State Standards Heard from some folks that passages mentioned corporations such as IBM and General Mills. Is this why we call the CCSS “Common Corporate State Standards”? Did anyone see other examples of this?
- Pearson advantage? A story is building that the 6th grade exam had a passage that was very similar to a Pearson product’s story in Scott Foresman Reading Street 6.1 (pages 208-224). If this is true, this is a horrible example corporate influence in our schools. Do schools who purchase Pearson products have an advantage? Does this invalidate test results. If Pearson gets millions of tax dollars from New York State should we expect new reading passages, not recycled stories?
- 7th grade ELA had “irony” as a theme, but that topic is listed as an 8th grade CCSS standard.
- Several passages were repeated in various grade levels.
- Several educators told me that some of the questions and passages were even confusing for the teachers and contained more than one correct answer.
- Students were taught “close reading strategies” to re-read and highlight, but found they did not have time to write the essay.
- Students crying, going to the nurse.
- Students with “extended time” testing modifications spent 2-3 hours taking the test. Some stopped working or rushed to finish the test so they would not miss lunch or P.E.
When discussing Pearson’s tests at dinner my 4th grader said: “We take Pearson tests all the time” Out of the mouths of babes. The incompetence of NYSED officials and Pearson is ruining the education of a generation of students. I am sick to my stomach to think about how students must endure four more days of this madness. I am glad my fourth grader will not be participating in the NYS Assessments, but the Pearsonization of her classroom still harms her education.
This week’s ELA test may spur more families to opt out their children. I guess we can thank Pearson and NYSED for that.
Please post any issues you witnessed in the comments section below.
Follow the author on twitter: https://twitter.com/Stoptesting15