a.) This statement is completely FALSE. These NYS assessments are NOT used to identify those students who might need extra support to move on to the next grade level because the scores from the tests are not available until the student has already begun the next grade level in September of the following year. A letter from the NYS Education Commissioner clearly says, “the Department neither requires nor encourages districts to make promotion or placement decisions using student performance on state assessments in grades 3-8.”
b.) This statement is completely FALSE. The contract and program with inBloom no longer exists in NYS. It has not been delayed. It has been removed completely from the budget.
c.) This statement is very MISLEADING. These NYS assessments are NOT important roadmaps for teachers, students and parents because neither the teachers, students or parents ever get to see what specific test questions the student got right or wrong. Parents only get to see a green line on a paper indicating a score on one test that only assesses about 15-20% of standards in ELA and Math and excludes all other areas of learning.
d.) This statement is very MISLEADING. It implies that part of the purpose of these tests is to prepare students to be good test-takers. Education is NOT about being a good test-taker. It is about learning. In addition, students get plenty of practice in the regular classroom setting as teachers administer more authentic, locally produced assessments.
e.) This is completely FALSE. Principals and teachers have constant access to the most important information about a child’s academic functioning. This includes local district assessments, teacher assessments, classwork, homework, projects, teacher analysis, and report cards. Again, a letter from the NYS Education Commissioner says, “the Department neither requires nor encourages districts to make promotion or placement decisions using student performance on state assessments in grades 3-8.”
f.) This is CORRECT. The building administration and teachers do have years of experience in supporting children through assessment process, so let’s allow those teachers to use their skills in assessing our students with valuable local and teacher-made assessments rather that rely on NYS assessments for which we cannot even know which questions our students get right or wrong.
g.) This is completely FALSE. Under the ESEA Waiver, AYP is no longer used for accountability purposes according to the NYS Education Department (NYSED). In section 5 of this document from NYSED it says, “At the end of the 2011-12 school year, NY will sunset the current accountability continuum of schools and districts in improvement, corrective action and restructuring based on failure to make AYP.”
h.) This is completely FALSE. According to page 9 of the Educator Guide to the 2015 Common Core ELA Tests (page 7 of the Educator Guide to the 2015 Common Core Math Tests), the NYS Education Department says, “After a student’s assessment materials are collected, that student may be permitted to read silently.” In addition, the law firm Guercio and Guercio advised school districts that, “To the best of our knowledge, SED has not officially stated any position on whether students must remain in the testing room or whether they can be moved to an alternate location. In the absence of any guidance from SED, it appears that districts have discretion in this regard, as long as the district ensures that the assessments are offered to all students and all SED test security protocols are followed.”
I hope this information is helpful in understanding the truth about refusing NYS assessments.