Wednesday, April 15, 2015


THANK YOU TO LONG ISLAND OPT OUT FOR SHARING AND ALLOWING BATs to PUBLISH AND GET THE WORD OUT.  Yesterday was Day 1 of NYS ELA CC testing.  We will be posting the Day 2 and Day 3 stories in coming blogs.  Stay tuned and share!!

You can join LIOO here
You can get NY test refusal information here at NYSAPE
You can get National test refusal information here at United Opt Out

I have watched things go from, bad to worse, and then perhaps, absurd. But this year’s sixth grade New York State ELA Assessment is nothing short of an abomination. College students would have a challenging time understanding the passages and poetry, but a far more difficult time trying to answer the questions. When they release what few pieces they release to the public, I urge all taxpayers to visit NYSED’s site, and take a stab at “trying to be as smart as a sixth grader”. Do you know what amyloid plaques in the brain are? You should if you want to be a successful sixth grader.
Enough is enough.
I am a teacher. I had to look a child in the eye today and tell this child who was compelled to tell me that he was unable to read an entire passage on the assessment, losing all of the questions associated with it. He has worked so hard this year to bring himself up several grade levels. He was devastated. I looked at him right in the eye and said, “Do not worry. Do your best. I will never know your score. We will never use your score to make any decision about you as a student. Please just relax and try your best.” I wanted to cry. I am so thankful I am not administering any assessments this year because in good conscience, I could not do this to any child on my watch.
Having pleaded my case with NYSED, Commissioner King, the entire Board of Regents and all of my elected officials to no avail, I have one single request: if you want to fire me, please, please, please find a weapon other than my students.
I love my students, and will not be silent about this abuse.

5th grade test - only 6 of my 17 in the room with me were able to finish. The ones who DIDN'T finish were my high kids, my avid readers. There was just far too much material on the test for them to get through and comprehend. As far as developmentally inappropriate goes, besides the actual length of the test, the word "acrid" was in one passage, and one of the multiple choice questions required students to choose a definition for it. How many adults know what "acrid" means, even with context clues? I had kids closing their books when I told them pencils down in tears. They worked SO HARD, but it just wasn't enough. How could it be? The test isn't designed for them to pass.

The NYS Assessments should be used in a court, as evidence of child abuse!
NYS ELA Grade 6 Day 1 had a passage, written by a British author in the 1800s, with a readability/ text complexity range from Grade 9-College!

One of the third grade stories today was an excerpt from a book called eating the plates. According to scholastic it has a grade level equivalent of 5.2 and a 720 lexile level which is on the high side for an 8 year old. Another reason why these tests are not fair.

The grade 6 test was ridiculous. 6 lengthy passages of 2-3 pages and 6-7 questions based on each passage that required students to constantly to locate paragraph numbers to figure out answers. Within 90 minutes a student had to read all the passages and answer the questions. So that means 15 minutes per passage. Lets pretend that a student took 1 minute to read and answer each question, that would take 7 minutes per passage leaving a total of 8 minutes to read and comprehend the 2-3 page passage. My students were taught all year to annotate / jot notes in the margins. Ummm that is what they were doing as the time was ticking....tick ..tick....tick....tick. I had two students my two that are reading at a 9th grade level able to complete the entire test. The rest of my students had to play color in the bubbles because they ran out of time. They had to guess / select any answer for at least the last 12 questions. This is an adequate measure of my students reading? This is OKAY? This is developmentally appropriate? THIS MY FELLOW EDUCATORS IS RIDICULOUS, UNFAIR, ABUSE OF POWERS, WASTE OF TIME and downright SAD and SICK! My students have worked so hard all year to be treated like this? To feel "dumb" to be graded and labelled with a number? I am so fed up with the profession I so LOVED. My dream job was ROBBED from me. My students self-esteem that I have built up all year was ripped from them today. All of my hard work building their confidence all year, building self-esteem, teaching them to work hard went out the window thanks to Governor Cuomo and NYSED.

This mornings ELA exam was pure child abuse! There were 5 passages (2 which appeared on last years assessment). Each passage was 2+ pages long. The kids had their 70 minutes to complete 30 questions. Of the 30 questions 17 required the students to look back at various paragraphs! Most of my children didn't finish and were very upset that they might have disappointed me or their parents when in truth many adults wouldn't have been able to look back and find the correct answers in a 70 minute time frame. The students were deflated as they tried to find the best answers when MANY of the questions had more than one possible answer to choose from. Children appealed for help but all we could do was pat them on the back and say "keep trying your hardest". How awful we felt that we couldn't comfort or help OUR kids on a test that was so far above their level. Of the 10 children in my room during the assessment, I had three gifted and talented students and only 2 kids who receive remediation- they all struggled!
Word back from my colleagues in 4th grade was more of the same. Instead of 6 2-page passages like they had last year, students had 5 3-page passages. The vocabulary used most adults wouldn't be able to define. Overall we had a school of deflated students.
I'd also like to point out that their were TONS of grammatical errors. I'd love to share but we are under lock and key!
Overall the only children who won today were the children who opted out. They enjoyed doing enrichment activities in another part of the building.
Anyone still on the fence....please do your children a favor and opt out of the math!

6th grade test was ridiculous and frustrating to all. Some passages were readable, but the majority of the questions focused on text structure and specific lines of the text. Students were forced to continuously return to the text to analyze lines for almost every answer choice, which made it virtually impossible to finish in 90 minutes. Most of the selections were science based and a poem was two pages long and way too advanced for sixth graders.Vocabulary was so far over their heads in several passages as well. There were some questions where teachers could not determine the correct answer. It was heartbreaking to watch students struggle and give up. By the end, many were randomly bubbling just to "finish". This test is no where close to bring an accurate measure of skills taught in any 6th grade ELA classroom!

5th grade test OUTRAGEOUS! Children had to read over 3,000 words and answer 42 questions that were sooooo ambiguous and such difficult language. All this in 90 min. Many gave up. Just bubbled in. Some didn't finish. Just wrong.

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