Cynthia Wachtell on New York State’s Flawed Public School Standardized Testing
Here is a modest proposal. Let’s have private school students take the same standardized tests that public school students now take each year.
While we are at it, let’s require private school teachers to be absent from their students’ classrooms for the same number of days as public school teachers, who now must serve as conscripted graders for the standardized tests.
For public school children, it has been a long spring, shaped far too much by mandated testing. And the testing is not over. The latest outrage is that public school children are now expected to serve as free product testers for Pearson, the test preparation company awarded a $32 million, five-year contract to develop New York State’s 3-8 grade tests.
From June 5-8 “field tests” — tests composed entirely of trial questions that do not count towards students’ annual test scores — are supposed to be administered to one full grade at each public elementary and middle school.
In trolling the internet, I discovered the English Language Arts and Mathematics Field Tests School Administrator’s Manual. My favorite lines in it read: “Do not permit students to obtain information from or give information to other students in any way during the field tests. If you suspect that such an attempt has occurred, warn the students that any further attempts will result in the termination of their field tests.” Students caught cheating on a test that won’t be scored get to finish early. When did we cross into the realm of the absurd? Read full article at The Huffington Post…
Dr. Cynthia Wachtell is an assistant professor of American literature and director of the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Yeshiva University. She is the author of War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914 (Louisiana State University Press, 2010). The opinions expressed above are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to Yeshiva University.