Dear Bill and Melinda,
Below, one of our readers responds to our blog post “My name is Andrea Rediske, and I am Ethan Rediske’s mother. Please Pass #EthansAct! #EyesOnDOE“
“The tests given to our children claim to be criterion referenced meaning that all students should be able to provide a correct response to any question on the test. Yet the questions for these are ‘field tested’ each year doubling the testing time. The test makers then exclude questions that most students answer correctly. The tests are not criterion based.
If you were to be required to administer tests to special needs students, who cannot read the questions or the reading passages upon which the questions are based, your heart would break for them. They are subjected to taking the same amount of time testing as peers who are capable and know they have no chance of ‘passing.’
Each and every year the state department assesses performance on the tests of the entire population who took the test, and then manipulate the ‘cut score’ number of questions answered correctly to pass. In Literacy 11th grade AR state exam the cut score has been raised each year. At last calculation this score equals an 85%. The test is to be based on a minimum standard of performance. Should that equal a B, a student can pass a class in most systems with a 60 percent. None of what is happening makes any sense.
The benefits are going to the test makers, internet providers, and the computer companies whose sales will sky rocket when Common Core testing requires all students be tested online.
How many of our special needs students have access to computers, can type, and read from a computer screen? How many schools have the needed resources to test every child in every grade online?
Where in all of this testing is a benefit for students? Does anything change instructionally, based upon test data at a state or national level except for more constricting sanctions?” ~ Tins Hayley
Lloyd Lofthouse wrote a review of Diane Ravitch’s book, Reign of Error in his blog post “A Bloody Rain of Terror on Teachers, a book review of Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error” . Lofthouse discusses the nation’s two testing policies – No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top:
“But “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top” demands that every child finishes first and on time—something that has never happened in the history of any country in the world. These two Washington DC programs supported by the critics of public education are impossible to achieve and are nothing more than a bloody path to guaranteed failure.”
“…impossible to achieve and are nothing more than a bloody path to guaranteed failure.”
Bill and Melinda, can you answer Tins Hayley’s question please?
We repeat: “Where in all of this testing is a benefit for students?”
We want to end all high stakes testing. In the meantime, let common sense prevail and join Opt Out Orlando to pass #EthansAct in Florida, then in every state. (Click on #EthansAct link to support this bill in Florida. Look for your “Opt Out” options across the country at http://www.UnitedOptOut.com . )
Susan and Katie, Teachers and Co-authors of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates