NYS Field Testing Information

The details below were posted as a comment on my post “Why We Refused the NYS Assessments“. The information is valuable and doesn’t really belong as a comment on that page so I moved it out and dedicated it as a post instead.

In June Pearson and NY State are field testing items for the next test. Participation is not mandatory.


What New York Parents Need to Know
What is a “field test?”
 Field tests are used to “try out” new questions for future exams. Some field test items were included in the New York State tests our children took over a six-day period in April. While these items don’t count toward students’ scores, they make the exams longer and contribute to children not finishing.
 This June most schools are scheduled to administer field tests to one or two grades in English Language Arts (ELA) or math. Parents have not been notified about these extra exams, which are due to be given the week of June 3rd-7th. Individual schools are allowed to choose the day for testing.

Why should I be concerned about field testing?
 Field testing is integral to the larger system of high-stakes testing. State test scores are used to decide whether students are promoted and schools are closed, and starting next year, whether teachers keep their jobs. These high stakes encourage schools to focus on testing rather than meaningful learning activities.
 Approximately one-third of instructional time during the school year is lost to test preparation and taking the ELA and math exams. High-stakes testing drastically reduces the time available for history, science, gym and music and the arts, as well as field trips and hands-on projects.
 When our children take field tests, they serve as unpaid research subjects for Pearson, a private test development company. When adults take field tests, Pearson offers them a $100 voucher for books.
 Even though field tests benefit a private corporation and not students, parents are not informed nor asked to consent to the use of their children’s valuable education time for commercial purposes.

What are the consequences of opting out – for my child, the teacher(s) and the school?
 There are NO consequences of refusing to allow your child to take field tests.
 A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) released by the NYC Department of Education in April 2013 affirms that there are no consequences.

How do I opt my child out of field testing?
 Notify the principal in writing that you refuse to have your child participate in field testing. Here is a sample letter you can use or modify. If you feel strongly about this decision, please invite other parents to join you.
 Even if your child is not scheduled to take a field test this year, you can still inform the principal that you do not support field testing during school hours.
 For more information, visit the Change the Stakes website or contact boycottfieldtestnyc@gmail.com.

Change the Stakes is a group of parents and educators working to reduce the harm caused by high stakes-testing, which we believe must be replaced by valid forms of student, teacher, and school assessment. See our brochure:  The Truth About High-Stakes Testing in New York City Public Schools

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