Posts Tagged 'standardized testing'

Who are tests bad for?

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the December 2013 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: December 2013 Leaflet

WHO ARE TESTS BAD FOR?

New Action opposes the Teacher Evaluation System, largely due to rating teachers based on student test scores. But we should object to tests for reasons beyond the bad APPR.

Every extra day of testing squeezes out another day of teaching. Every high stakes test, especially in this era of punitive accountability, leads many schools to increase the number of days of test prep. Each prep day squeezes out another day of real teaching. The test burden on principals has led many to eliminate foreign language and art. Recess is getting short-changed. In many schools, Science and Social Studies get repurposed to ELA and Mathematics prep in non-testing years. This is horrible for kids and schools.

Teachers are more and more forced to teach not “to the test” but “to the tests” in a dizzying flurry of diagnostics, pre-tests, and State tests. Trained professionals are being asked, nay, forced to teach what accountability requires, not what the children need.

And let’s not forget, tests make kids sick. In October of this year, the Delegate Assembly approved the following language as part of a resolution on standardized testing:

“the current intensity of the standardized test taking and test prep affects children emotionally and physically leading to anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, headaches and other physical ailments.”

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High Stakes Tests Make Kids Sick

This Wednesday the UFT passed a resolution that says, in part

“the current intensity of the standardized test taking and test prep affects children emotionally and physically leading to anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, headaches, and other physical ailments”

This text was offered as an amendment by Maria Ramos, a New Action leader at the September 23 UFT Executive Board meeting, and it was accepted as friendly.

Maria spoke to the amendment:

Over the years as a school psychologist in the spring just before the ELA and math tests are administered I conduct “De-Stress the Test” Workshops to students, teachers and at PTA meetings. I have also observed 2nd graders take pilot tests. I have conducted hundreds of interviews with students as well. I begin by writing one word on the Smart Board and circle it. “Tests”. I asked the students how that word makes you feel.  90% of the responses are the same: “I’m scared”, “I’m sad”, and “I’m afraid”. “I don’t want to be left back”, “nervous”, “tired”. Children also complain of sleeplessness, headaches and stomachs. This borders on child abuse.  I don’t need to tell you how stressed out teachers are. The parents’ responses are interestingly the similar to their children.