Regents exams get underway on Tuesday. SchoolBook speaks to an expert from Inside Schools who helps us all understand this other class of state tests, and what they are all about.
Scoring the state tests is underway by teachers across the city. One teacher says she and her peers take the task seriously. Before scoring a test she always does one thing first: she turns over the booklet to read the mailing label.
Four democratic candidates for mayor, all with overlapping views on the New York City school system, took questions from parents at P.S. 29 Thursday night. The forum, moderated by Diane Ravitch, was a chance for candidates and parents alike to voice their frustration toward the current administration’s policies.
Ask and ye shall get. In response to Schoolbook’s question about the new state tests, parents and teachers shared comments about longer reading passages and kids running out of time to answer questions. Some creative teachers came up with a new song about the exams. And we got a very interesting question.
On Tuesday’s third-grade English test there were 30 questions that children had 70 minutes to answer. They didn’t know which items counted and which did not. This writer believes field testing raises ethical questions. It’s a practice, he says, that benefits the commercial interests of the publisher, and makes children the unwitting subjects of research.
“When I look at my son, I don’t see a data point or a test score. I don’t look at my son and see future SAT’s or LSAT’s. I see a kid frustrated with ‘practice tests’ and the narrow curriculum his teachers are forced to teach.”
During the two weeks of state tests, the rules of behavior are so strict it can make a classroom feel like it is on lockdown. To combat test stress, one teacher says we all should cheer on the students and teachers with support — and ice cream.
Last year just over one hundred New York City students opted out of taking state tests. Parents behind the effort this year say their ranks are growing as frustration mounts over testing.
A student argues that the expansion of A.P. classes, and the pressure to take as many as possible, rewards a test-obsessed approach to education and keeps students from taking more intellectually stimulating classes.
One teacher said he’s insulted by new rules that require standardized tests are graded by outside teachers rather than those who know the students. Teachers, after all, design tests all the time and should be trusted to grade them fairly, he said.
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