Spring 2016 NYS ELA Testing Update – The Feedback

The first week of 2016 New York State ELA testing is complete. The stories of the test takers and those who administer the exams are trickling in via various social media sites, pages and posts. The comments below were posted publicly across many different social sites without names because teachers are under a gag order to not speak about the exams. Fight Club like restrictions. Read it and weep while keeping these words in mind as we prepare for the next round of 2016 NYS testing: Math.

Here we go…

“That several English Language Learner students in a district with intense pressure to test well due to Receivership status sat for 6 hours of testing today. When the tests were taken away from them at dismissal they were still working. These are children. How can anyone support this?”

“I just proctored the 3 grade test in NYC. The first question from the passage about the ” sniff” was impossible to answer. It made no sense. I asked four other teachers and they all had no clue. Many of the questions were tricky and I believe there was no correct answer!!!!! Nothing has changed. Thank god my 3 grader doesn’t sit through this torture. Some kids still testing from 9 am.”

“Here we are again. Another year and the same mess. Attaching book from third grade test. The excerpt is a guided reading level U. Absolutely NOT a grade 3 level.”
[Note: The attachment was missing from the post.]

“In 6th grade there was a poem from the 17th century that the teachers in our building read in COLLEGE. 11th grade level.”

“The 7th grade ELA had a passage that required the students to “read/view” a picture of a tiny ear implant placed inside the ears of guinea pigs. They had to explain in a short response question how the picture contributed to their understanding of the article. The image was ridiculously small and difficult to look at because it was so small…not bigger than 2 inches. It was terrible. Not to mention the unlabeled planning pages for the essay, which are not used for grading, but if the kids needed more room, they could go onto the pages that were supposed to be used for planning. It was a mess.”

“Today’s 4th grade passages is the same thing. I found “The Kite Fighters” by Linda Sue Park – grade equivalent 6.3″

“On the 4th grade test today there were intentionally misleading questions. One involved a quote about ‘a light over your head’ and the answers for what that means included ‘having a good idea’ and something about understanding what’s going on. Either of those could be true. Really difficult especially for my ESL kids who don’t have that colloquial language. Don’t forget that one of the readings involved Mesopotamia. A 6th grade subject.”

“4th grade extended response question was inaccurate. Asked how the character’s feelings toward SHEEP changed in the story. Was supposed to ask how their feelings about sheep HERDING changed. Character’s feeling about sheep was that they smelled badly, that feeling NEVER changed. Feelings about the job of sheep herding changed though, which were excited, nervous, etc. Tests were much harder, longer, and not even close to developmentally appropriate. People still making alot of money off them though! Poor kids”

“6th graders struggled with book 2 and 3. Some worked for almost 3 hours. :(”

“4th grade short response did ask how the the map contribute to the understanding of the content. I had several kids ask me what that meant, and of course I couldn’t help them. I also had the resource room teacher tell me that my ESL student she was working with struggled with that same question. There was also the word “ewe” in one of the passages. Another ESL student raised his hand to ask me what a E – WE was. 4th grade – 3 blank pages in back of book after the word STOP. During middle of test had to interrupt kids to tell them to use the blank pages for planning. 3rd and 5th no blank pages.”

“Five of my fourth grade students spent three hours on book 2… They missed snack and their special… I feel so bad for these young children.”

“Form F 4th grade had that jack border collie passage too. Story told from Jack’s perspective. Jack is a dog but it was hard to figure out. Very challenging, confusing story for a 4th grader. It was an excerpt from Sheep by Valerie Hobbs and you had to read the 1-2 sentence summary at the beginning to figure out who the characters were. If you didn’t know what a border collie was, you would not know that the story was told from a dog’s point of view. The summary did not explicitly state that, you had to figure it out. And the text was confusing. Lots of inferencing required. Again, it’s just an excerpt, decontextualized. The word haughty was used in the passage. And students had to write about how Jack’s feelings about the sheep changed. When did the feelings change and why.  Also very detailed about herding sheep. Used a lot of vocabulary about sheep herding. Kids not familiar with that at all.”

“3rd grade test: I saw that there was an excerpt from a biography of Neil deGrasse Tyson, which was written at a Lexile Level of 780 – definitely above the 3rd grade reading level. In my opinion, that Lexile level sits at a sweet spot between 5th and 6th grade.”

“One question on the 6th grade ELA asks students to read through 60 lines of text to tell which of the chosen 60 lines help you understand the difference between evening and night. Talk about obscure! The written examples aren’t even in the answer choices. They have to look between lines x through x for 4 different choices.”

“Changes to the test???? Two of the passages on today’s 6th grade test were used on last year’s 6th grade test.”

“I’m in a middle school. The kids work till they finish and then are allowed to eat. 9 am to 1 pm for those using extra time. Lunch periods end before that. Not hot lunch for them. Just sandwiches. And no bathroom breaks when they move to the next room to finish.”

“3rd grader threw up at start. Went home, is opting out of rest of tests.”

“Some classes had students still taking the test until 12:30. Kids way late to lunch. Starting time 9:00.”

“6th Grade reading selections were An excerpt from Kathleen the Celtic Knot, A Famous Secret Valley ( Jerry Miller) an excerpt from The Heart of A Samurai ( Margi Presus ?) a poem titled Twilgiht & Calm ( Christine Rossetti) and an article Getting Lost in a Good Book Can Keep You Healthy. Authors not 100% sure if last name is correct. Still need to search them up for lexile levels.”

“Daughter in 5th grade reported that test had a passage and questions that were identical to a passage from last year’s test that her school used as a test prep question (Yasmeen’s Turn). A friend in 6th grade reported the same issue.”

“Tweet NYSED and demand they invalidate the 3rd & 5th grade tests because no planning pages for extended responses are provided.”

“Millions of dollars spent on these tests and they still mess up the directions. We just got an amendment from NYSED fixing their directions…unbelievable. I even questioned it with my class, because it’s something I taught them but wasn’t included in their booklet, even though the directions said it was”

“The 6th grade ELA test was ridiculous. The vocabulary was way above the grade level by at least 2-3 years. Just cruel.”

“We had students testing for almost the whole school day. One of my own 6th graders worked for 4 hours. These tests are ridiculous.”

“A 6th grader told me he/she was still testing into lunch period because so many of the questions had two similar answers and he/she spent a lot of time agonizing over which answer to choose.”

“There are children in the [school name removed] middle school who spent FOUR HOURS TAKING THE TEST. Omg. Those poor kids.”

“A reading passage on todays 4th grade ELA is from “The Kite Fighters”. Grade level equivalent…6.3!! Guided reading level, W!!!Talk about abusive and unfair to test any 4th grade student on this level, let alone Spec Ed and ELL learners. Deplorable. Just absolutely deplorable.”

“Day 2 6th grade…same thing. No planning page. Test started at 8:10 and BOCES called at 9:30 to tell our building there was no planning page. Our admin got on the PA at 8:15 and told the kids there was no planning page for 6th graders, they should use the front cover…hardly any room for anything…ridiculous. About 6 blank pages at the back. Why couldn’t someone freaking proofread a copy of this exam before it prints. REALLY???? Also…in the teacher instruction manual…it says to bubble clearly and if you make a mistake to erase. The scan trons and directions we have tell kids not to erase but to X out and re-bubble. Seriously? Get your shit together people.”

“I just found out from someone that the fourth grade test yesterday had a passage The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park. I looked it up and that has a 6th grade reading level!”

“I teach a special population. I teach mostly ELLS. In April and May, I will be pulled out for over TWELVE school days of instruction to administer NY State Exams (6 Days), The NYSESLAT Speaking Test (3 Days), NYSESLAT Listening, Reading, and Writing (3 Days). After one year in the US, these students survive the shell-shock of a new culture, language, school, etc. only to be battered by testing. It’s appalling!”

“Reading selections included: an article titled The Silver Dream Machine by Jan Greenburg and Sandra Gordon. It had a couple ambiguous questions and I had to flip back and forth to review the test to answer what I thought was the “best” answer. Also was an excerpt from “Stranger From the Tonto” by Zane Grey, written in 1956. Cannot verify a lexile level other than AD or “Adult Directed” Had to look up what a crag was afterwards. Vocab words provided were burro, labyrinth, verdure, perturbation and austerity. One question asked was poorly placed as the lines that were baing asked about fell on pages you had to flip to look at. Lastly was Winter Hibiscus by Minfong Ho. Found it on a Maryland website used as a 12th grade resource in 2008. Students had to make connections of symbolism for different characters in the excerpt.”

“One 3rd grader had to sit in the library until 3 pm because he had not completed the writen responses. He was given a lunch break.”

“My 8th grader confirmed that there were no planning pages. She said that the directions said you couldn’t use loose leaf paper so she just didn’t plan. Again the children suffer because of incompetence.”

“I had a child work until 2:30 today!! She ended up missing a math lesson on a new concept that will surely be on next weeks math test!”

“For anyone who thinks this wasn’t a big deal, one of my students left out the entire extended response essay because he thought “that was the planning page that wasn’t going to be graded”. The tests should be thrown out.”

“I would like to add that I am a special education co-teacher for grades 1 and 2. Year after year I am pulled from my teaching assignment to administer these tests. My at risk students need daily instruction. They miss out on 6 days of instruction because I am pulled. There is a substitute crisis across the nation, so no subs are available even if my school would get one for me. I just don’t get to teach and my younger kids suffer.”

“My students noticed at 8:50 am that 7th grade Book 2 had no planning page. Administrators were told. Nothing was done for over an hour. Meanwhile, students eat breakfast between 7-8 am. Some are working till 1 pm or later on the exam. Lunch is over. Not hot food for them (and we are a title 1 school) and no break. Eat and go to class. The students said the proctors were complaining they were hungry and wanted lunch. Really? What about the kids?”

“I administered the 4th grade ELA today. It SUCKED. The last passage was a first person point of view of a sheep dog. They barely explained that in the little explanation above the text, I had to go back myself to confirm that. I tested a small group of children with disabilities. 1 boy from a self contained setting refused to answer the 2 short responses. He was unproductive for 30 minutes I instructed him to skip them and read the last passage and do the extended response. He did and then he sat there playing with his pencils, the gum in his mouth and he drooled on his paper and smeared it all over the test booklet. I asked a hall monitor what to do, she spoke to him. He was still unproductive, I told him, just write anything. He didn’t. He asked if he was allowed to quit. They sent an administrator up to talk to him, she told him to write anything. He played with his pencils, gum and drool some more. They came to get him for lunch which lasted 45 minutes. He is now sitting in a speech classroom, him and a proctor with that stupid, illogical test still in front of him. He is cognitively impaired, but not alternately assessed because his mom won’t let him be and he has been sitting with a test he cannot finish for 2 hours and 45 minutes. I’m sick.”

“For the last two days, I’ve proctored the 3rd grade ELA Assessment with a young Autistic girl. She has moderate speech/language delays and moderate to severe behavior issues. She is a perfectionist who fears failure. Her testing accommodations require a one-on-one testing environment (a speech teacher was present as well), and for the instructions to be read to her. On the first day of testing, she read the stories out loud and had difficulty combining words into meaningful sentences. Her self-stimulating behaviors (rocking/hand gestures) increased and it was clear that her frustration level was escalating. As always, strategies were implemented to help prevent disruptive behavior When faced with answering the multiple choice questions, she repeatedly said, ‘I don’t know”. She had an all-out meltdown. It lasted approximately 15 minutes with her kicking, screaming and hitting the desk. Once she de-escalated, she had a water break and resumed testing… for the next 2 1/2 hours! There were minor tantrums in between with many requests for water/bathroom breaks. On the second day of testing, she sat for 1 hour and 45 minutes. She read the stories out loud (again combing words into meaningless sentences). Her written response answers were, “IDK”… literally!! My stomach and heart ached for her. My answer of, ‘you’re doing a great job, just do your best’ was not the best I could do! That is why I will continue to fight alongside all of the courageous parents for our children… ALL of our children!”

“An ESL student who was only in this country a short time, but started school in September, took this ELA test. She took this test because she and her family trust her new government. This child doesn’t speak or read English yet, but the state wants to test her “reading comprehension” skills. This test was given to her in English (because the state demanded this), her teacher was not allowed to look at what she was writing, and she had unlimited time to finish this day’s test. This test could have been in mandarin for her, it would have made no difference. This sweet child sat there from early morning until the very end of the school day, almost six hours with only a break for lunch, diligently writing her answers to her test. When the teacher finally had to collect her test, she realized that this student copied every single word of the test booklet for her answers because that’s the only way she could answer the questions. This teacher was heartbroken. This test for this child became a language test, not a reading skills test. Had the state truly wanted to test her comprehension then they would have allowed this test to be in her native language. This was not the intention the state had for giving this test. Not only will this child feel like a failure, but soon, her zero will count toward 50% of her teacher’s evaluation. That is the state’s purpose of this test.”

“This afternoon I saw one of my former students still working on her ELA test at 2:45 pm. Her face was pained and she looked exhausted. She had worked on her test until dismissal for the first two days of testing as well. 18 hours. She’s 9.” (Read the full story here)

[Note: The comments above were discovered in public social sites as of April 8, 2016 and are unedited. The solution to all of this is simple: Stop it. Fix it. Scrap it. That’s the wise words of one brave superintendent, Dr. Rella. NY refuses to stop all of it while they are trying to fix it. Madness. They don’t even have enough statistical data to make ANY wise decisions now. But, they will still try to use this testing data to punish.]

Related links:
Errors, opt-outs again cast shadow over state exams (here)
More than half of eligible LI students opt out of Common Core test (here)
Thousands Refuse Common Core Testing, Calls for National Opt-Out and Washington March (here)
Please post your comments & observations about the ELA exams here! (here)
ELA exam 2nd day: major snafu – what should now happen? Leave your comments below! (here)
3rd day of ELA testing; please add yr comments! And “impossibly improbable” reading passage found! (here)
Long Island Optout Facebook Group (here)

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  1. “In the heart of a child, one moment …. can last forever.”

    About this testing …

    There is no virtue in making children so brave that they might withstand the idiocy of adults. Nor is there any virtue in lying to children so as to protect adult ridiculousness. And when adults trip over their own commandments and reason away the subtle wounding of children … then they themselves have committed a great sin.

    Childhood is an extraordinary moment. It has its own sanctity because it is the maker of first memories … and we make big deals of firsts in our lives. And first memories should never be ugly. Not ever.

    But what has become of us? Why have we arrived at this moment when children become fair game in an adult controversy? Instinct tells us never to place children in the middle of a muddle. But here we are … hearing unbelieving tales of adult unfairness that seem such the antithesis of what is expected from the guardians of our children.

    Life is a long frustration. The great beauty of maturity is that we learn to keep our cool and to react only to the most insistent frustrations. Adults learn to separate the important from the unimportant … and it prevents us from the nasty human inclination to settle on easy scapegoats … and then to punish the weakest and most vulnerable.

    Scapegoats are born of frustrations adults cannot control … and we have loads of frustration surrounding this wretched reform. But frustration is never a green light to exercise a disturbing dominance over the smallest of the small. If that is the first impulse of an adult, then they are in a queer orbit.

    Children cut off from pizza parties and ice cream treats because their parents exercised their right right of refusal? Little humans in little desks made to sit and stare for hours … in of all places … a school? Children confronted by some towering goliath … insisting that they revoke their parents’ own wishes? What the hell is going on here?

    Where is the wisdom in gluing children to desks for hours as they squirm their way through some asinine educational gauntlet that has no real purpose other than to pay homage to some testing god? Who thought that a good idea?

    This is a mess that cannot be unmessed. When will we start over … and get this straight?

    Is this how children should ever be treated? Are there not school campaigns to disarm bullies … and to champion kindness? Have those champions vanished? Were those just paper heroics? Empty nonsense? I sense adult ugliness seeping through a holy firewall behind which childhood is protected. It seems too many are now comfortable liars … even with children. And worse, some have become hypocrites.

    There is never an excuse to scar a child. And if you’re in the child business … that sort of action condemns you to a special sort of hell.

    For children, school is a majestic cathedral. A near shrine where every minute should be crammed with as much wonder as a minute might hold. To disturb that atmosphere is to violate the inviolate,

    A school has no place or space for anyone unable to plug into their memory bank for recollections of their own childhood. If one cannot stay linked with with the memories of their own past, perhaps they shouldn’t be in the memory-making business at all.

    When one’s memory of childhood evaporates, so does one’s empathy. And that is a signal to move on.

    “Childhood is a short season.” Give it its due.

    Denis Ian

  2. Kendall

     /  April 16, 2016

    This made me cry. I am a teacher in FL. I am generally able to keep a push-on atitude. Like me, too many teachers have given up this fight and have resorted to “doing what we have to do” to keep the job.

    We still take a Florida Assessment with Common Core aligned standards. It is not the standards that I mind, it is the WAY they are tested. That is the bigger issue.

    I appreciate you not just “doing what you have to do” but doing what we all need to do together and sticking up for the students. They need reachable goals and assessments they are excited to take to show ALL that they learn and ALL that we teach throughout the year.

    • Kendall Cahill

       /  April 16, 2016

      By “given up” I really mean feel stuck under mandates.

      • Don’t give up and please do not just cave in because you feel the need to keep a job. There are jobs out there for everyone, but if you know what you are doing is wrong, you have to find a way to make it right. We’ve been doing that here in NY and are making progress. I’ve wanted to give up many times, including this year. Then, my then 4 year old came home upset that she failed her gym exam. The fight continues.

  3. Anna

     /  April 15, 2016

    Why was the ELL student who started school in September given the test? All students are exempt from the ELA test their first year, no matter if they started in September or the day the test is administered. I teach ELL’s and none of my newcomers who started school in the US in Seotmeber were given the ELA test.

  4. Kimberly

     /  April 13, 2016

    The story about the ESL student copying the test booklet absolutely broke my heart. I live in California, not New York, and fortunately, California seems to have weathered the shift to Common Core better than most states. I support the theory behind Common Core 100%. I believe that children in 3rd grade, or 6th grade, or 11th grade should be learning the same things as 3rd graders, 6th graders, or 1th graders in another state. I just can’t understand why these assessment tests, however, are so varied. Why are there no set standards on what material/vocabulary/etc. is grade level appropriate? Would it really be so hard to put together a “think tank” of educators that can create an outline of appropriate material for each specific age group that can be pulled from for inclusion in each state’s assessments?

    I’ve opted my own children out of the assessments here in California, not because I feel the assessments here are problematic, but because I believe there needs to be some sort of solidarity for the students, parents, and educators in states like New York.

    • G.

       /  April 20, 2016

      I don’t know how you can take students who live in radically different areas of the country (rural, farming, cities, rich, poor etc) and expect to have all of them learning at the same rate in order to be able to learn the same things at the same time? And then to test the same across the nation for the same knowlege?

      You start where kids are and teach from there.

      The vocabulary and interests and experiences are not the same for each of these children. My little Navajo kids understand herding sheep and mountains and crags. City kids? not so much. My little Navajo kids couldn’t understand a sky scraper if they had to. They don’t understand why you call a fire dept. when your house is burning- because why? The fire dept won’t get there in time.

      This is the fatal flaw when trying to make everyone the same across the nation. We’re not and we shouldn’t be.

      Individuality is what makes this country great.

      If you want to set general goals- students will write with correct ending punctuation. Now that is something I can get behind. But to expect them to have the same vocab, the same background experience with which to draw from- not happening. To expect them to be the same – that is a mistake.

  5. Colleen Keifer

     /  April 13, 2016

    I don’t know about your school district but in our school district they do use the test scores to determine who is in the most need of remedial help the following year. My Daughter stresses over this and does not want to put in the “extra help” classes. It doesn’t matter how you label it – they know. Why should she have to go through that much stress and feel like a failure if she needs help. This is not a good system!!

  6. Darrell

     /  April 13, 2016

    Don’t try to debate with or explain anything to the bureaucrats that run far too many aspects of our lives. Instead, find a way around them.

    In the case of Common Core testing, why is there no general attack on the tests by parents simply instructing their kids to answer all of the questions randomly, going through the test willy-nilly and choosing whatever answer they want?

    The scores on tests by students who give random answers must reflect poorly on the quality of teaching, right? Either that, or they reflect a group of people who have determined they will no longer be sheep. This is a perfectly non-violent way to stop an injustice. The scores on these tests are meaningless in terms of grades or promoting the student.

    Every information system can be corrupted by one of two means: overloading it with too much data . . . . or by feeding it corrupt or inaccurate information. Feed this beast bad information and it will collapse of its own weight.

  7. SarahG

     /  April 13, 2016

    Now I’m curious, what was the 17th century poem used on the test? When I was in school we read and were tested on huge sections of the Canterbury Tales (15th century) in 10th grade. We read and were tested on Shakespeare (16th century) in 7th through 12th grade. I had to study modern poetry and 18th century song lyrics in 6th grade. I guess a lot has changed since 1990-2005!

  8. Bevy

     /  April 13, 2016

    This is what happens when the liberal/socialist NEA is in charge. We’re only getting what we deserve!
    I would beg to differ slightly with the teachers and proffer that the test is designed to get children to see things that are not presented in class. Now granted 3rd grade can make this quite a stretch. But where else are they going to be exposed to these confusing scenarios and not spoon fed the answers.
    Let’s go back to the 1920’s when they spent time teaching the 3 R’s?!

  9. Craig Maunders

     /  April 13, 2016

    If I wanted to show the “effectiveness” of my glorious educational system, I’d rig the assessment by inflicting the most machiavellian, difficult, and disjointed “tests” upon the kids (and their unsuspecting parents), and then substitute a different, “better” test later on, to show what magnificent progress had been made. Of course, I’d need to rely on legal maneuvering like gag orders to facilitate my conniving, but hey, the congratulations and adulation I’d receive from the Party would make it all worthwhile and, after all, the ends justify the means, right?

  10. I came across your blog by accident but could not stop reading it. The teachers and the parents should be up in arms about this. It looks to me that these tests have nothing to do with learning or teaching, but are just a way to skim money from the state and dumb down the kids. I wonder if this is intentional or just really stupid people not caring at all about the tests they are making.

  11. These tests are not evaluating academic achievement. They are not messed up by accident. These tests evaluate your childrens grit, tenacity and perseverence. They are psychological tests. Now how hard is that for these teachers to figure out? Why do you think AIR is behind the creation of these tests? WAKE UP. Until parents STARVE THE BEAST this will never end. The beast needs only one thing to survive…..our children. If you can’t or won’t get your kids off the battle field at least organize and REFUSE all high stakes assessments (ever wonder why they are called assessments and not test??? Get out the dictionary.) REFUSE the use of the computer, REFUSE all free meals and medical services provided by the school, REFUSE Competency Based Education and assessments. I think home school is the best option as long as you take no ESA or voucher money. FPEUSA.ORG is great on line Christian, classical, teacher led program. Alex Newman is one of their teachers and Dr. Duke Pesta is deeply involved. No common core and NO data collection. I have researched then and visited their Wisconsin office. Met with Duke and Alex. We simply must find ways to get our kids out and you would be surprised at the number of people I met a year ago that said they just couldn’t do it and today have found a way and made it happen. Work as a community, retired people and teachers must step up, grandparents leave a mark on the world.

  12. Christine

     /  April 9, 2016

    3rd grader, 6th grader and 7th grader – no complaints -told them test meant nothing – they said it was “easy”. Move on….,,,

    • I guess if you don’t mind the fsct that these tests are psychological evaluations and assessments of academic achievement then of course you would say that. These tests are messed up on purpose. Ever wonder why prior to CC they were called tests and now they are called assessments? Look up the word.

    • Continue feeding the machine. It’s ok. That’s your choice. Really should examine your statement though: “the test meant nothing.” They why for hours on end, for several days, thousands of dollars in subs coming up to be scored (more lost instructional time.) The British just levied some extra taxes on the colonists way back when. They should have just paid up and moved on, right?

  13. Red alert

     /  April 9, 2016

    Regardless of my stand on testing, the reason teachers signed a gag order was because the test is currently still secure. There are make-ups to be given. Regardless if one’s stance on the subject, in the spirit of fairness none of these responses should have been published on a public forum. All the students that went into this blindly now have an unfair disadvantage as the kids taking make-ups are being forewarned as to exactly what passages they will be encountering. To me, as angry as we are, we should respect the security of the test for that reason.

    • While your comment may be true, it is far from a concern. There are dozens of variations of these tests and even in one building the same grade level may have different passages and questions. If the state released the entire exam after it was given and scored you’d see less in the way of comments early on. Teachers have not signed the gag order for the reason you stated. My understanding is that they are not permitted to discuss in detail the exams at all, not just during the testing window. If they were, the state would give them the exam for review in the fall. In the spirit of fairness, the state should not being giving these exams at all. What is the purpose of them this spring? Can you tell us? Because NYSED can’t.

  14. camb888

     /  April 9, 2016

    Very concerning that so many grade levels are reporting reading passages that are written way above grade level. It would be hard enough for kids if passages were at the actual end-of-year level for their grade (since early April is not the end of the school year), but a year or two above grade level seems ridiculous, unless the tests really are designed to create failure.

  15. #optout2016 Watch this video and refuse the math tests next week. https://vimeo.com/161182196

  16. George M.

     /  April 9, 2016

    I am very concerned that we now are testing for hours instead of ninety minutes. How is this standard? Commissioner Elia’s idea of making the test opt out proof did not work, and probably made the testing situation worse.

  17. Over the last few years, I have seen several sample questions from these tests, and although I scored 1500 on the SATs, back in the day, and graduated with a Philosophy major from Yale, there were many times when I could not figure out — forget the “right” answer, I couldn’t even figure out which was the answer they were looking for (which is all most aptitude tests ever boiled down to…until now). I recommend that any child not opting out just do a mental coin flip, between whichever answers seem plausible, and at least get to lunch. These tests were clearly designed so that it is impossible to do well on them. Job done!

    I could cry when I think of all the vocabulary words these children could have learned, in the 6 long days they will spend, instead, on worthless exams. They could have learned one new math concept, at least. Instead, all they will learn is that the “authorities” who made them do this are heartless, sadistic, and not very smart. So maybe they will have learned one useful thing, after all.

  18. Heather

     /  April 9, 2016

    In the Burnt Hills Ballston Lake School District the district created an assessment for both ELA and Math to replace the state test for kids who opted out. I opted my son out of the state test. When I tried to opt him out of the district created assessment I was told that he would have to sit and stare at it until his peers were finished with their own. Absolutely irresponsible of the district! Why should my 5th grader have to pay the price the the state’s ignorance?

  19. Jill

     /  April 9, 2016

    Christina Rossetti wrote poetry in the 1840’s. My poor 6th graders had to make sense of her poem which contained language that was used 176 years ago. Eventide? Are they serious? One of my students worked 5 hours on day 2 and 6 on day 3. My heart broke for him. An essay about the proper disposal of e-waste?!

  20. Reblogged this on stopcommoncorenys.

  21. Susie Bates

     /  April 9, 2016

    I am just sick to my stomach reading all of this. While my child did already take the reading and math part of the staar this was before I found out about this opt out option, he suffers in his math and is failing it really bad and has yet here it is April 9, 2016 to received any extra help through the school and this new common core is not familiar to me so I have begged and pleaded with them to help him and to no avail as of yet I brought it to their attention yet again just yesterday and they just seemed to be dumbfounded as if it is no fault of theirs. I am sick of the public school systems period I will be looking in to private or homeschooling my child from here on out and will opt out of anymore testing he is currently in the Harris county Aldine school district of Houston intermediate 5th grade and I feel as it has turned in to some type of Cult

  22. Dawn Campbell

     /  April 9, 2016

    From what I experienced in my 3 days of hell in 4th grade, all of the above comments are spot on.

  23. Reblogged this on christybez.

  24. srhandres@yahoo.com

     /  April 9, 2016

    I gave the test. I hated the test. I’m very pro-opt out, but the comments above are so blown out of proportion and UN true, in some cases. Let’s be factual. PLEASE.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. You are free to document what is so overblown and pick apart the quotes. These were submitted by teachers who administered the test. Feel free to document your version either in the comments section of my blog or in your own online space. I have talked with elementary teachers who had students throw up on last year’s exam. NYS says the teacher must collect the exam, bag it and then it will be scored. Not invalidated. Scored. So that may be overblown and extreme, but true. It is really hard to be 100% factual when teachers are not permitted to discuss the tests, when parents can’t see the tests, when score reporting is incomplete, etc. I am all for being factual but without a video camera in the testing room and without 100% openness with these exams, anecdotal evidence is all we have.

  25. Kelly

     /  April 9, 2016

    I gave the 4th grade test. I would say the comments listed above are accurate. We lost a lot of additional instructional time due to how much time kids took to take the test. And, we have three more days next week! The very first passage on day one was a level U based on the Fountas and Pinnell guided reading reading levels listed on Scholastic Book Wizard. Fourth graders are expected to exit the year at a level S. Testing needs to end, and the state and federal government needs to release its grip on public education, and stop spending billions of dollars on testing–money that could be supporting students with qualified personnel and materials!

  1. Teacher: What third-graders are being asked to do on 2016 Common Core test | ★StaceinTexas★™
  2. Teacher: What third-graders are being asked to do on 2016 Common Core test – Stop Common Core Hawaii

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