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New York State ELA Assessments Common Core
Assessments are supposed to reflect what children have learned in the classroom and show what they know. How can we really know if these particular assessments are truly reflective of what our children have been taught in the classroom? Teachers didn't know what questions and material would be presented on the exams. Countless hours were spent in classrooms across our state to prepare for these tests. Too much time was wasted teaching to the test instead of providing valuable, interesting and meaningful lessons to our children. And now we begin to hear stories from teachers, parents and students themselves about these assessments. Comments such as the tests were developmentally inappropriate, students were in tears, students who became physically sick while taking the exam, students who left the exam room feeling stupid, feeling defeated, worrying as to whether or not they failed the exam. This is not appropriate assessment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against assessing what students know through the use of testing, but these particular grades 3 through 8 assessments are not the answer. We know there were questions on these assessments that had several answers that you could argue to be the correct one. I've heard it from teachers and I've heard it from my very own children. I read a quote from a New York State public school administrator who said "Imagine...a team of third graders in a game against the local varsity team" to describe the tests. This is not what should be happening to our children. Some students reported the test was "exhausting and boring." I am aware that some students just gave up and didn't finish that test making statements such as "I knew I wasn't going to pass anyway, so what's the point?"
Tens of thousands of people in New York State alone refused these assessments on behalf of their children. And I was one of them. Doesn't this alone speak volumes? It's not about assessments in general. In my opinion, it's the Common Core Learning Standards assessments that are not appropriate. Now, just imagine the challenges that face children with IEPs. The curriculum and the assessments that go with it are like a punishment for these students. It's heartbreaking. Supposedly, the goal of common core is for all students to succeed. Well, students can't be standardized. You can't tie the hands of our teachers with a standard curriculum. Children are not one size fits all. They are diverse, creative, intelligent human beings who all learn at their own pace. The love of going to school, the love of learning and the ability of teachers to individually cater to the learning needs of their students is being crushed by the Common Core and the assessments that go along with it.
Change can be good and change is never easy. It's also never without flaws, but this is not the change that we need. We are told our children need a curriculum that is more rigorous. We need to be more globally competitive. Have you looked at the actual definition of rigorous? Too many children are suffering through this curriculum. They are suffering through assessments. Please stay informed, stay educated about what is happening to our education system. As I've said before, let us not fail our children They are depending upon us.
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