School has been in session for weeks in some areas, and about to begin in others. Parents are frustrated about the onslaught of testing that is ALREADY bearing down on some children. The tests are coming more frequently, and counting for more than ever. The measures necessary to accommodate testing have grown ridiculous, stealing irreplaceable instruction time from our children and scarce resources from their schools. The 2014-2015 OCPS Assessment Calendar is a graphic example of over-testing.
School districts tout the need for teacher accountability. It’s time to flip this script on false accountability.
Parents must demand real accountability from our school leadership. NOW, not later, NOW is the time to get your school administrators thinking about the reasoning, or the lack thereof, behind the policies they uphold.
CALL TO ACTION:
Here is a list of thought-provoking questions for you to present. You may be surprised by some of the answers you receive. You might surprise them into realizing that they haven’t considered some of these questions themselves. Send your questions by e-mail. We would appreciate it if you would share your school’s responses in the comments below.
Every public school parent should be asking these questions now… and you should demand REAL answers.
—> For principals:
1. How many standardized tests does my child have to take this year?
2. Where do these tests originate?
3. What is the specific academic purpose for each one?
4. How will these tests affect my child’s academic future or standing?
5. For each test, does the teacher see individual student results and have a chance to adjust individual instruction to help each student?
6. Who sees the scores, where will they be recorded, and for what purpose?
7. Do the scores become part of my child’s record?
8. Who in the district instructed you to give these tests?
9. How much time does the administration of each test take?
10. What training was provided to staff and how much time did that encompass?
11. Explain how costs for each test are used in a way that is in the best interest of your students.
12. How many staff are being taken away from teaching or counseling duties to administer each test?
—> For school superintendents:
1. Identify by name and frequency each standardized test your district requires in each grade.
2. Explain where these tests originate and, for each, explain its specific academic purpose and the year it started.
—> For school board attorneys:
1. Explain your district’s policy on opting out of/refusing standardized tests and cite its legal foundation.
—> For school board members:
1. How do you view the academic purposes for standardized testing?
2. Are you familiar with all the standardized tests your district requires, and their academic purposes?
3. Are you willing to initiate a parent/teacher review of the use of testing in your district?
4. Is this test mandated by the state or is this a district choice?
5. What are the costs associated with this test per student and to the district per grade level?
6. Will you provide the district’s opt-out policy to all parents in writing?
—> Tweetable link: http://bit.ly/1rdxUhQ
These questions were written with the help of a current teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous and with retired, Nationally Board Certified Teacher and journalist, Mike Archer, who was featured in Anthony Cody’s: Florida Teacher: “I was among those who reviewed Common Core in 2009.”