RTW: Current tests, evaluations serve no one, particularly kids – Commentary – Olean Times Herald

I write flawed because anyone who has seen the test knows this is true. The tests are written way above grade level as the state continues to ignore the rules that dictate the natural development of the child. The tests are filled with trick questions or more than one right answer, have terrible vocabulary, line after line of foot-noted explanations, strange names, etc. …

If Pearson (the creator of the tests) and the state want to get rid of the controversy, why not just publish the whole test and put everyone’s mind at ease? They will give you the copyright excuse, but the real reason they can’t is because if parents actually saw the test their child has to take, they would be appalled.

And, honestly, parents, when you got that slip of paper back from the state months and months after your child took the test, did it mean anything to you? Teachers don’t find the results of the test helpful, either. Sure, the state tells teachers what questions the students got wrong, but a teacher can’t tell why the student got it wrong, because the tests are not available.

How can that possibly help to inform instruction? How can anyone think that’s OK?

There are plenty of articles out there about the absolute disaster that has occurred when these high-stakes tests have been implemented in other states, but all this information has been willfully ignored by Cuomo, the state Department of Education and the legislators who voted for these educational “reforms.”

There are still too many people — including people who claim to be educators — who think the tests are somehow valid and necessary. They act like students and parents who choose to refuse are quitters, wimps, uninformed, stupid or all of the above, that somehow this “bad choice” that they are making to refuse the test will lead to a life of regret and failure. Conversely, they act like students who take the tests will be guaranteed lives of success and joy, as if life were based on nothing more than a standardized test.

I even heard reports of districts threatening to call Child Protective Services (CPS) on parents if their kids don’t take tests. Are we living in America anymore?

Too many have forgotten that they themselves managed to become well-educated, productive human beings (judgment and common sense aside) without the crushing burden of standardized tests. I seem to remember a statistic before the educational “reforms” passed that well over half of those polled disagreed with what the governor proposed for education, yet the will of the people was ignored and big government and big business carried the day.

We need to show them now and in the future that they made a big mistake. Democracy through dictatorship is no democracy. Let’s have all the stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators, other educators and our elected officials, who are supposed to be working for us, get together and come up with some real solutions.

No teacher I know of is afraid of a valid evaluation of his or her teaching skills. Our fear is for our students. If you want to get rid of teachers, fine, but don’t use our children as the tool by torturing them with an invalid standardized test.

If you doubt the truth of anything I’ve written, please know that you can read through some of the articles on our website. Unlike those who claim to know, before I make commentary or give an opinion, I do the research.

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