Lucy Calkins Weighs in on the 2014 NYS ELA Test

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Thanks to Kevin Glynn of Lace to the Top for sharing this excellent analysis.

From Lucy Calkins:

From all I hear, the jury is no longer out in New York State.

Last year, the NYS ELA–a test that was described as brand new and aligned to the CCSS–was bad. We complained, we gave feedback, we worked to improve things–and I think many of us actually believed that the State would try to make a better test this year. But from what we are hearing, this year’s test was worse. The finest principals in the State are all saying that the best thing they could have done was to tell teachers and children to go home. The people I am hearing from are all agreeing the tests will tell nothing of value–that they were not testing anything close to what kids should be able to do in language arts.

I did not see the tests–I am not allowed to do so–therefore I rely on reports, as do all the parents across the State. I’m sympathizing with those parents, wondering what they have heard. What I have heard includes stories about some of the very strongest, most resolute third graders coming up to their teachers with tears welling, saying, “I can’t write anything here. I don’t understand what it is asking.” There are stories of brilliant teachers and principals trying to take the test themselves and finding that too many questions were obscure and confusing, too many had many possible answers. Teachers who are my heroes report their hearts were breaking, they do not know if they can continue to teach. Passages for third grades (on their first standardized test ever) at level X, three-part questions requiring a whole sequence of abstract steps, passages in archaic old English… And always, the kids are being asked to look between paragraphs, back and forth, back and forth, noting structures of paragraphs and intuiting author’s purposes…The work that people describe as being required on the ELA seems to me to be utterly unlike what reading and writing should be like for youngsters.

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About Lee Araoz

K-12 Technology Coordinator, instructional coach, staff developer, speaker and author. Innovative teacher and perpetual learner. Igniting an enthusiasm for lifelong learning! https://thegoldenageofeducation.com
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77 Responses to Lucy Calkins Weighs in on the 2014 NYS ELA Test

  1. Congratulations Common Core. On average, 50% of NYS students have opt out. In this percentage, you will find the demographic is informed families of affluence, higher education, and active parent participation. So, Common Core, guess who tested today? Your NYS students who already fall well behind their more privileged peers. This is what the 3rd grade was tested on: being able to discern why ancient sailors relied on both astrolabe and chronometer clocks to guide them? To inference from a passage that it takes place during the Great Depression, and be able to write a response on how this affected the details of the story. So, Common Core, we are expecting Special Education students who read at a first grade level to comprehend “The Grapes of Wrath?” Bravo Commissioner King. Brilliant.

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  2. Concerned Parent says:

    What is NY state thinking they are making this test more important than our kids learning to read and spell. I think they are more focused on other things besides good grammar and teaching our kids what is most important. If our kids don’t know how to read or write then where is that going to get them!! Open your eyes NY our kids need to be educated Reading and grammar is more important at this point!!!!

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    • K. Lubey says:

      This concerned parent needs to brush up on his or her punctuation and grammar. This is why education standards need to be raised in NYS and all over the country.

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      • Alma says:

        Let me guess, related to corporate scoundrel? “Clueless” did I spell it correctly.

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      • Sara Gilberg says:

        Oh please! Brush up on your logic. Relentless standardized testing doesn’t have a thing to do with education standards. Furthermore, standards mean zip to a hungry, homeless, traumatized child. Let’s talk about the real causes behind non-performance.

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      • Yes! As a NYC public school teacher for 9 years in the Bronx our country is turning a blind eye to the real causes of lack of educational performance. The problem stems from politicians not saying that parents need to step up and raise their own children and stop expecting teachers to do that. Any politician who actually calls parents to task will not be reelected, hence none does it. Instead we blame teachers, raise standards, and pretend the socioeconomic problems do not exist. Insanity!

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      • K. Lubey says:

        Why yes, Alma, you did spell it correctly and no, I am not corporate scoundrel. Are you aware that the US ranks 25th out of 34 countries in education? I am not “clueless”. I am just concerned that our children are graduating from US education systems and are not able to compete with the rest of the world. I am simply stating that education standards must be raised in the United States. The system is flawed and our children are not being educated well enough.

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      • GiggleKids says:

        25th out of 34 countries….We are being compared, in come cases, to countries that track kids. Countries like China test children around middle school and only those that score the highest move on to higher academic coursework. Other children move on to skill-related job preparation. My brother is a doctoral student at UBuffalo and says that students from these countries need far more guidance in his science labs, as they can do higher-level mathematics, etc., but have a harder time thinking on their feet…if there are not specific steps, they become lost. In countries that do educate all children and that are higher performers, please look at socio-economic data and family values emphasis. All I’m saying is, we were doing a good job in NYS and that is why the new common core curr. was largely modeled after our NYS Standards.

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      • Lynn says:

        Standards do not necessarily need to be raised. Right now, they are up there and many students who are differently abled will never reach them. What IS needed in order for us to “compete with the rest of the world” is a country that values education 100%. These top countries hold teachers in highest regard, not athletes and reality tv stars. They fund education as if it matters. If society as a whole, government and private citizens, believes that education really is the foundation for our country’s ability to succeed on a global level (and will do anything to ensure this idea), then and only then will our students truly be competitive. Standards alone won’t cut it. The support is needed to ensure those standards are developmentally and pedagogically sound and that all students will have equal opportunity to meet or exceed those standards.

        Students aren’t being educated well enough? I don’t what schools you’ve visited, but I have yet to meet a teacher who wouldn’t bend over backwards to do what it takes to help his or her students succeed. They spend so much more time and money than the public will ever know to make learning meaningful. Depending on their population, they often end up feeding, counseling, consoling, and cheering on students when they barely have anyone else who can do so. Teachers must do their job and teach; students must also do their job and learn. The disconnect happens when neither is provided with the tools and resources (not always money) necessary. The way the curriculum was implemented was a joke. They (state ed) wanted teachers to fly the plane while it was still being built.

        Spend a week or even a day with 27 students of diverse social, emotional, economic, ethnic, and academic backgrounds. See how easy it is.

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      • GraceB says:

        No question standards need to be raised. The Common Core doesn’t do that. As for the US being behind other countries, you need to do some real research on that one since those results also show that poverty is the factor that lowers the scores. When you compare American students who DON’T live in poverty, they keep pace with the rest of the world. We have too many children living in poverty. The Common Core only makes poor schools poorer. The system is no better than our culture. When our culture begins to really value education (and not just “success” as defined by financial wealth), the system will improve. The corporate takeover of education by people who are absolutely clueless about learning and children will make people like Gates and companies like Pearson millions. It will turn out a generation of people trained to take tests (maybe) but not to think. The Common Core was not written by anyone who knows anything about education. The info is out there for anyone to find.

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  3. Becky Keller says:

    So glad we opted out our 8th grade Special Ed son. He was so upset last year – can’t imagine this year if this one was worse.

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    • leea66 says:

      Good for you, Becky! We opted out our 5th grader and our 3rd grade twins this year. I refuse to allow my kids to be abused by meaningless tests that are created to make them FAIL!!

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    • Mark Harlander says:

      Why was last year any different from the previous years where they took this? I think a lot of the stress on students is coming from the parents’ frustrations.

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      • Jodi Hammond says:

        Huge difference between last year and prior years. The new “common core assessments” which were given less than an academic year since those standards were being taught in NYS!!!! You aren’t aware of the changes????? Hmmmm? Odd. This year is reportedly worse than last year’s!

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      • Kids Matter says:

        Have you seriously compared the 3 – 5 NYS tests of previous years and the ones from this year?? Not sure you’d be making your comments if you looked at the construction of them or looked up the reading levels of the texts used this year… And frustrated parents?? They haven’t seen – and can’t see – the tests, so how frustrated can they be with them just yet? How about the frustration of the kids who had to take tests that dimly resembled the materials and all of the good teaching practices that have gone on all year to prepare them ? That’s where the frustration of the parents comes in…that their kids felt such stress from the tests themselves, and not at all from the dedicated professionals who strive, on a daily basis, to teach children without imposing stress on them. Kids get it. Ask a few.

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      • sg says:

        Take a look at the tests. You’ll see the difference.

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      • Cc says:

        My students had to analyze the Star-Spangled Banner and a subsequent passage. Then decide how the passage changed their understanding of the first verse of the song. Most didn’t have an understanding of the song because teachers are not allowed to teach it as it does not fall within the common core. God forbid there’s a teachable moment. No straying from CCLS. My students were frustrated. Had nothing to do with their parents. I love when people comment on things they know little to nothing about. These kids are learning to accept poor performance and failure.

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    • I also Opted out my 6th grade son with APD and comprehension level at 4th grade for Reading, I could not as his Mother allow him to take the ELA’s, with his 504 Plan he gets time and a half on all tests. I couldn’t imagine that happening to him. Im very happy with my decision and his Principal actually understood and respected me for coming forward to Refuse the tests for him. Fulton CSD had only 10 refusals but my guy was one of them

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    • jahughes22cuba says:

      I pulled my son out of public school and am home schooling him. I have seen happiness return, and have a calmer, more relaxed 14 yo who enjoys learning once again. I could not bear to see him suffer any longer, continually being tested. I have been a substitute teacher for a number of years, and firmly believe the individuals who make these decisions for our children are so far removed from the realities of the classroom, they wouldn’t recognize one if they fell into it! I am saddened by the number of amazingly talented and creative teachers leaving the profession. Yesterday, I spoke with a young, vibrant teacher who is moving out of New York State to take a trucking position elsewhere, as he is disillusioned by his experiences with testing, testing, and more testing. Friends who are teachers have taken early retirement, and state they couldn’t get out of the classroom fast enough, because they are tired of having to teach to the test, and see their students struggle and become more discouraged daily.

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  4. NYS doesn’t want our public schools to succeed. Public education is going down the slippery slope and being given a big push by NYS in the hopes they will fail, so they can use this as evidence to why they should corporatize education. The mere fact good teachers are thinking about leaving what was once an admired an noble calling says it all. It’s only a matter of time.

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  5. Kids Matter says:

    I just read a message from an administrator of an elementary school in NYC that – after the tension, stress, tears, finality, and complete misgivings of the last three days of NYS ELA testing – made me burst into tears. This bulletin to parents applauds the children for their perseverance, and the staff for protecting them from the stresses imposed by THE TESTS. The bulletin goes on to share – with parents – generalizations about THE TESTS (because, as Lucy says, they are not to be informed of the detailed content of them). The principal’s bulletin continues to share “… how little it [the ELA] will tell us about our students… that student’s scores on it [the ELA] will not correlate with their reading ability.” This bulletin openly SUPPORTS children, parents, teachers; it openly SUPPORTS a protest by administration and teachers, and invites parents to join in. This is where my tears erupted. From NYC to upstate NY, I felt the SUPPORT of this administrator who is standing up for all of the stakeholders and isn’t at all afraid to let her SUPPORT be openly known. She is a champion. She gives me strength.

    I am a 5th grade teacher. I am a fifth grade teacher who LOVES teaching. And I am one of those heartbroken teachers Lucy refers to. I’m heartbroken because my colleagues and I had to impose three days of testing – roughly five hours of time to teach – on our students. How about this: vocabulary so thick as to be developmentally inappropriate for 10- and 11-year olds? A passage so convoluted by punctuation marks that the reading of it was next to impossible and meaning inevitably lost? Passages whose context (focus, theme, setting…) was not in any way connected to fifth grade state curriculum expectations for content areas? Passage concepts so deep and response questions so ambiguous and challenging to interpret that teachers were stretching to reach consensus as to what their students were being asked to do? The tests demanded that the children “…flip pages back and forth tons of times…” (Christopher’s comment) as they went from questions to “…about a zillion numbered lines that I had to read and reread and re-reread…” (Ali’s comment) while attempting to conscientiously “…pick the best answer from two or three answers that could be the right one. What’s that all about?” (Thomas’s comment). And how about the insights of Morgan, an energetic, engaged reader (She’s the one with her nose in a book as she walks to and from lunch!) who was instrumental in facilitating the creation of a fifth grade “book club” club? “…sitting like that for 90 whole minutes for three days in a row is unhealthy. I got sore and crampy, and my brain gave out about halfway through…” There’s always practical Aria who piped up, “Yeah, I’ll piggyback on that by adding that I bet the people who made the tests up couldn’t sit that long and put pressure on their minds like we had to.” This led to throngs of kids excited to get to science class so they could get on the internet to look up what the “brain research” has to say about all of this. These kids are learners, and these kids enlighten me! Oh… those numbered lines that Ali talked about?? These were referred to as “paragraphs” by the test creators, and there were WAY too many of them, maybe 15 conservatively per passage??

    My faith in the state education system has been overwhelmingly crushed for years, but this current round of what are called “tests” – nothing short of an insult to all of the children who are learning to read and write in a way that will sustain them for their futures – has led to faith that is now pureed. The kids in my class are hard working and they are readers and writers about reading. They know what close reading is. They talk as close readers and they write as close readers. They articulate, with clarity, how to do this with each other and with me – their teacher who adores reading and writing, who was educated and has been professionally developed as a teacher of reading and writing for countless years. They don’t need a “big business” test to show that they know how to read well, especially one whose construct doesn’t allow for it.

    “Let’s go outside, forget about the test, and then get back to REALLY reading! I can’t wait til workshop tomorrow!!” (Olivia’s comment). Need I say more?

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    • GiggleKids says:

      Kids Matter…you did an amazing job with your comment. I agree 100%.

      I’m an ELA 7 & 8 teacher who wishes more of my parents opted their children out. I bet they would have if they were informed about what this test is and what it is NOT. I really think most parents do not even know there is a process for opting out their children. Most schools and teachers do not even know if they can talk about it with parents.

      NYSED scares me…I wonder if I will be teaching in a few years…I wonder if I will have a job due to the poor economic condition our school is in with the increasing unfunded mandates, I wonder if NYSED will decide I am “ineffective” due to the test scores my students may get….wonder if I can just stand by and watch this all unfold at the expense of my kids…this is not what I signed up for. I am highly effective. I worked hard to receive three degrees in education and continue learning better ways to reach my students each day. This test is not a reflection of my students capabilities, my students reading/writing abilities, and does not reinforce in any way why we read and write in the first place.

      I wish more experts in the field, like Calkins, would speak out! These are the experts that were never consulted.

      Commissioner King’s only teaching experience is out of state at a charter school. It does not take much to figure out why someone put him at the helm in NYS….that is the direction he wants us to go…charter schools that will be justified by “data” suggesting we are failing our students with public education.

      We need to stop being compared to countries that only allow part of their population of children to continue on to pursue higher academics with strict tracking. In our country, 100% of children have the freedom and right to an education. Our data includes all children. As teachers we do not choose our students, nor do we allow one test to determine a child’s future….or, should I say, that’s the way is was…

      Kids matter…I admire you!

      Like

      • Kids Matter says:

        There’s a fabulous OpEd in the April 9th NY Times written by Liz Phillips, the principal of PS 321 in Brooklyn, NY. Liz is the administrator I referred to in my April 5th “testing talk” comment. Let me know what you think after you read the article!

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    • Amy says:

      As an ELA/special ed teacher, I just want to say thank you. For truly teaching, encouraging students, and not giving up. This is such a difficult profession. Thank you for being an inspiration… to me and your students!

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      • Kids Matter says:

        Thanks for the compliments! I accept them for ALL of us – kids, parents, teachers – who share similar thoughts. These are trying times, and we have all been affected. It’s vital that we keep the momentum up and running even as the days of last week are behind us. There’s so much work left to do so let’s unite, stay grounded, and do what we can to ease the testing our kids have to be subjected to.

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    • Melinda says:

      Wow. You really nailed it. I teach as a Reading Support Teacher in an inner city school where many students do not read well. We have 95% of our students living below the poverty line.Many of our students are not able to close read or close write. Their grasp of what reading is all about is tenuous-they don’t have the language structure really to score in the proficient level of these assessments. They are not stupid, however. I want each and every student in my PreK-8 school to grow up and have every door open to them to lead fulfilling and productive lives, but the reality is we only have about a 50% high school graduation rate. Sigh. I was only able to see a couple of the grade level tests as I proctored students with extended time, but when I read the passages and the questions, a number of them did have seemingly more than one answer for the multiple choice. I was not able to see my groups of students most of the week because of this, and also then the make ups. Our principal did not even allow for parents to know of the opt out status, even though she admitted that other administrators sent home letters. They scare them into threatening the “loss of state funding” if they don’t get 90 or 95% of students completing the exams. How much of our educational budget in NYS is spent on these assessments? How much time away from teaching is spent administering, making up, going to correcting training, training the building teachers, and then scoring the exams in our buildings?

      Like

  6. Paige Klein says:

    The 3rd grade test also referenced the Gettysburg address, rock and roll, and Madonna as ‘humor’ in the story. I’m sure it’s going to help our children feel good about themselves when the entire story is over their heads and ridiculously irrelevant! Also, kids generally do science experiments by hiding bread and turkey around a friends bedroom to rot, right? Oh no??? They don’t? Then they’d have a hard time relating to the story they were tested on. Fantastic job.

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  7. Griselda DVicente says:

    My third grade daughter scores 4 in all reading aspects. She reads on a level U with comprehension. However , when I asked her snout how she did in ELA her response was ” Can you transfer me to a private school ? I felt stupid with the questions they asked me. ” I have to say bluntly the test creators have no clue what children can do developmentally. Who do they want to impress???

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  8. Lynn says:

    Kids Matter- well stated on all counts! I, too, am a 5th grade teacher and felt that this year’s test had very little to do with what the EngageNY curriculum outlined. We spent so much time working on close reading strategies, sometimes reading and rereading one or two paragraphs over the course of one class period. Read the text, reread it, ask questions, circle, underline, highlight, and discuss… Then take the test which asks students to read 6 passages in 90 minutes. That’s an average of 15 minutes per passage. But not only do they have about 15 minutes to read each, they must answer 7 multiple choice questions about each passage. I can tell you I had at least 3 students not finish Part 1. Another 1/2 dozen or so got to the 80 minute mark, panicked, and just started bubbling in something- anything- rather than leaving answers blank.

    I also had students just flat-out bail on the written questions on Part 3. They couldn’t even attempt to start a response. Total shut down. It broke my heart to see students who really tried hard all year to do their best, worked to show progress in the classroom, and wanted to make me proud in their daily work just hit a wall.

    There is a complete disconnect between the standards (or at least the EngageNY curriculum) and the expectations of the test. I saw it last year, among the many tears of non-finishers, and nothing changed this year. This is not what I envisioned having to endure when I switched careers to become a teacher 15 years ago.

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    • Kids Matter says:

      Lynn, we’re on the same exact page! I’m sure we can predict that those who created and promoted these tests would find it quite challenging to complete them to a “level 4” in the same time allotted to our students (and I’m not at all implying the time should be longer. Far from it). With passages far above the benchmark levels of 5th graders, they [tests creators] made it stressful for our kids who read and respond well within bands of text based on assessments that we complete throughout the year to monitor progress. This brings me to the emphasis on differentiation that comes out of our assessments, conference notes, and professional knowledge as educators: our IEP and AIS kids are asked to complete the same exact tests as their classmates. How on earth can a special needs learner who reads within a Q-R-S – or even a “mainstream reader” T-U-V band of difficulty – on an independent level be independently successful in a W-X-Y leveled band? And this is assuming that we don’t have kids below the Q-R-S band of difficulty, which some of us do. So, let me see if I understand: differentiated curriculum expectations, but same-level assessing. Hmmm… Not finish, flat-out bail, total shut down, hit a wall. Saw the same things. My heart breaks, too.

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    • Kids Matter says:

      Hi Lynn. See the April 9th NY Times OpEd written by Liz Phillips, principal of PS 321 in Brooklyn, NY. She is my champion. She is my strength. Let me know what you think.

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  9. gregg brentlinger says:

    Common core is nothing but a very large pile of garbage meant to indoctrinate students into a “robot-like” system of “education” where creativity will not exist and will not be tolerated. It is a sad “state” of affairs.

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  10. ATeacher&Mom says:

    I used to love Lucy Calkins – but she was quick to sell out to CCSS and write a book about it very early on (https://www.heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources/E04355/PathwaystoCCch1re.pdf). She even called those not invested in the CCSS “curmudgeons.” Now it’s later in the game and big bad things are happening with CCSS. I bet they were hard to predict but she helped the CCSS monster gain momentum. Now the question is, how can she help stop it?

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    • leea66 says:

      EXCELLENT point!! Now that the winds of change are upon us, it will be interesting to see if Lucy will take action or continue to sell out to the corporate “de-former” crowd.

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    • Lynn says:

      The standards are one thing. Many fellow teachers do not have issue with having standards that challenge students appropriately. Having the flexibility to challenge every student where they are and even raising their individual bar is what should be emphasized, not having everyone conform to the same ideal. HOW the standards were implemented in NY state and tests that barely test those standards are completely different issues.

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      • mgeroux says:

        Lynn – that’s what a standard is, by definition: Everyone expected to conform to the same ideal. That’s the problem with them, everyone loses when they are applied to education because it drags everyone to the middle. Some kids never make it, others are held back, and it’s awful for everyone. These particular standards weren’t even professionally developed by educators and should be discarded on that basis alone.

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      • Lynn says:

        mgeroux (below)- you’re right about standards. I just didn’t mention that because it is no longer an option to track students and have different sets of expectations. All square pegs must now fit in round holes. How can (some, not necessarily “all”) ELL and special education students be expected to perform like everyone else? By definition, their classifications state that they are not like everyone else.

        I remember back in high school kids either took regents level classes, advanced level classes and/or non-regents classes. A non-regents diploma was an option. Why should we expect everyone to conform? You make a great point that many will be stifled as they’re held back by those who may not be able to cut it. Is there one answer? Unfortunately, no. When you’re dealing with the human factor all bets are off for one expectation and one way of achieving it.

        Don’t even get me started on who developed these standards…

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      • Lynn says:

        (Sorry mgeroux… your post was above my reply, not below!)

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    • GiggleKids says:

      I agree 100%. I remember when this was all rolling out. I wrote a letter to many well-respected researchers in the field of reading/writing/education and pleaded for them to voice their expertise, comments & concerns. I was shocked that these experts were not in any way involved in the writing of the new common core nor were they involved in the creation of the assessments. NYSED will say that they involved teachers and researchers, but that was/is still not the case! Where were Calkins, Applebee, Langer, and Guthrie, just to name a few? These were the folks that helped mold me as a teacher when I was at SUNY Albany. They helped teach me what was best for kids. I want them to have a stronger voice in all of this! Please check out this website:

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  11. Mark says:

    Too bad the teachers can’t opt out from the test counting against their evaluations since it’s so unfair and unreasonable, yet counts against them for their APPR scores. Seems ridiculous. How many good teachers are we running out the door with the stress of these test that the majority can’t even come close to getting a 3 on?

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  12. Sick of Cuomo says:

    Will anyone ask Pearson why they duplicated portions of last year’s test onto this year’s test? The sixth grade Day 1 test had three identical passages from last year- and the same questions as well. Aren’t they getting paid millions and millions of dollars to create tests? Do they really need to duplicate previously used tests?

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    • leea66 says:

      Great point! It seems to me that the reason the test cannot be seen is that Pearson wants to save money by reusing last year’s passages and questions. This way they can maximize PROFITS!! What a SHAM!!!

      Like

    • GiggleKids says:

      Every test contains field test questions. So, our students spend time on questions that do not even count. What if a field test question at the beginning of a test makes them feel terrible about themselves and also eats up time they would have spent confidently answering another…not a reliable way to test children. I heard that a field test question that appeared on the 5th grade test last year appeared on the 3rd grade test this year!

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  13. Pingback: Lucy Calkins Weighs in on the 2014 NYS ELA Test | Teachers of Conscience

  14. Sick of Cuomo says:

    Isn’t there something wrong with the system when teachers, parents, students, and administrators can’t see the tests so that they can be used to drive instruction for the following year? How are teachers supposed to raise standards within their own classroom when they are unable to know where their students showed weaknesses in? When we receive results in September, we have no idea where our students and our teaching “went wrong”.

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  15. Pingback: NYS Test and What People Think About Them | Mrsvoniderstein's Blog

  16. Jamie Ryan says:

    Luckily these aren’t “tests” but merely assessments to see what exactly the students can do. The only way to make an objective assessment that doesn’t confuse 50% of the students would be to create a computerized test that changes passages and questions based on the predetermined levels of the student taking it… and those levels would come from previous years’ testing. In other words if 90% of your students are getting 3s and 4s on these so-called “tests”, are those assessments really giving us any valuable student data? I’m not sure why everyone thinks they should be easy…

    I’m all for alternative assessments. I like portfolios, websites, videos… anything that can prove a student can do something. I do not like these assessments in their current form. They work for some kids, but not for all. Personally I would’ve loved taking them because I loved challenging myself with tests… but I know many students who don’t seem to have that same excitement about that as I did.

    That said, I administered the 7th grade ELA test last week. Overall I thought it was a well-written test with very few over-the-top questions. Some students struggled… but the same percentage of students probably struggled with their volleyball quiz in PE that same week. Sounds as if the 3rd grade one may have been a different story.

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    • Concerned says:

      Really? Did you actually try answering those questions? On the surface, the questions looked fine, and the passages were definitely not too difficult. Unfortunately, the answer choices were highly subjective and ambiguous. No matter how many flips back to the text to try to justify one or another answer choice, there were several questions with more than one choice that could be justified equally as well by the text. No clear “BEST” choice.

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  17. Teacher/Librarian says:

    It feels like the whole NYS Educational
    system is being manipulated as a pawn
    in a no-win game by Cuomo to feed his
    political aspirations. I suspect the end
    game is to cause public education to fail
    on a grand scale while crushing the teacher’s
    unions so he can ride in on his white horse
    to “save” NYS education by privatizing it.
    Will any of my fellow teachers be coughing up
    $1000 and taking personal days to join Cuomo
    and his political opportunist friends at a
    very luxurious resort in Lake Placid to discuss
    NYS education? Meanwhile, some of our
    schools, like Schenectady, are having to decide
    between art or music and the are closing
    libraries in a population that generally has
    no other access to books, computers, and
    librarians. Shame on NY for treating our
    children so poorly. These kids do not have
    10 years to wait for things to get better.

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  18. Dee says:

    Why are teachers who feel so strongly against these tests suggesting parents opt out but are not opting out for their own kids?

    Like

    • leea66 says:

      I don’t see many teachers in NY doing this. However, I do have a problem with teachers who complain about how bad the tests are, and then allow their own children to take them. This seems a bit hypocritical to me. My own children did NOT take the ELA test last week and will NOT be taking the Math test!

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      • GiggleKids says:

        I am a teacher (MS ELA) and I opted out both my 4th grader and my 6th grader! I have heard that most of the parents that did opt their children out in our district and nearby districts are teachers. I really do not think that many other parents have all the info., or as much as teachers do. I think in some districts, teachers feel pressured to not only proctor the test, but worry about their students’ parents finding out they offered the test to their students, but opted out their own children.

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    • Joan says:

      If a teacher/parent has a child that will probably do well on the assessment, some are having them take the test to boost a teacher’s APPR score. Not saying I agree, but they are trying to help the teacher.

      Like

  19. Joan says:

    A fair test? Is it a fair test when 70% fail? Wouldn’t you be alarmed if you gave a test in your classroom and 70% failed? I know that if that many students failed, then either the test wasn’t appropriate or they weren’t prepared. So… the NYS ELA assessment is either inappropriate or the students weren’t prepared. With only 30% passing last year, we know the test was inappropriate. Also, many teachers had to use the Expedionary modules and those materials did not prepare the students. Isn’t that setting kids up to fail?

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  20. I administered the NYS 4th grade ELA test. I can say that I agree with Lucy Calkins. I tried taking the test, and I found that for many questions I could provide concrete reasons directly from the text to justify more than one answer for multiple choice questions. It was confusing and cruel to do to children. This is horrible to do to children, especially since it will only be used to evaluate teachers and administrators, and only be used to decide which children are held over.

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  21. GiggleKids says:

    I advised my &th & 8th grade students, that if they were running out of time, NOT to just bubble and guess to finish. I strongly feel that NYSED needs to know that some of my students ran out of time. There is not an indicator that says “guessed-not enough time to finish.” I would rather have NYSED know that what my students did answer was what they could get to and their responses were at least genuine to what they could do under the circumstances. My most thoughtful readers did run out of time. These tests are not an accurate measure of students’ ability in so many ways!

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    • Teacher & Parent says:

      That’s just wrong. You shouldn’t be telling your students any such thing. Your political agenda should not change the way a student would normally take their test. Most children are told by their parents to bubble in the answers if they cannot finish. These tests may be wrong in many ways; but you have no right to behave that way!

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      • GiggleKids says:

        Honestly, it is the right thing to do. If a child does not have enough time to finish, what does just bubbling in acccomplish…this was not part of any political agenda. NYSED does not advise kids to do this and I just passed that along. On the short and extended response, there is a code to mark by scorers indicating that child did not attempt. Otherwise, there is no way to indicate what questions at an end of the test were just marked for the sake of time. As a teacher, I did the right thing. I advised my students after speaking to other teachers and reviewing testing materials at length. Please do not be so harsh with your comments. I do realize some parents may advise their children to do that, but children who do not finish are scored mostly on what they do finish when it’s calculated. I have my students’ best interests at heart. I gave this pointer to my own children last year and when my son did not finish any part of the test (books A-B), he still scored really well on what he did finish and his overall score was much higher than if he just bubbled anything. No agenda; just love my students and did what I know was right & what the testing materials indicate. By the way, I also told students that these were their tests and I can only pass along what I know. I told them if they wanted to bubble, they could, but I would rather see them spending their time doing a great job on what they were working on instead of spending the last 10 minutes guessing.

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  22. John says:

    If the state tests are such a valuable tool for assessing student progress and driving instruction, why are they classified as “Top Secret?” Sounds like an aspect of a totalitarian government.

    Like

  23. Pingback: Lucy Calkins Weighs in on the 2014 NYS ELA Test | STRIVE with Heather

  24. Jutti says:

    These tests do nothing to guide instruction. I am retired thank heavens! Back when teachers were allowed to teach children I used to do a diagnostic test in reading, writing, and math at the beginning of the year. Then I grouped the students and taught them what they needed to learn.

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  25. Pingback: Just a Few Minutes | The East Side Monday Focus

  26. susanrm8 says:

    I don’t understand. Why is there such a disconnect between the reports of the test and these sample questions? And why did some of my students say it was easier than last year?

    http://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-common-core-sample-questions

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  27. Cathy Sapeta says:

    Hi. I am also an avid runner. I hope we can all run away from Common Core! Oh, but we can’t somebody paid a lot of consultants to “teach” it to us and the politicians took it without it being tested or having educators involved. And the unions? Yikes. We need to keep our good teachers! Please join with the parents on this one. Who thinks that Bill Gates will run everything off a computer and standardize the outcome? Outcome based education does not work. Call your elected official and keep calling them tell them to repeal Common core! Facebook with us New Yorker for our Children

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  28. Ted Kesler says:

    I am a professor of elementary and early childhood education and run the pre-service program at my college. We place our students in NYC public schools. I spoke with a gifted and talented 3rd grade class and their brilliant teacher yesterday, and they felt inadequate and disempowered by the test: the highest performing students in the 3rd grade, mind you. Can only imagine how the other 3rd graders in the school responded. In general, the climate in the school is shell-shocked. What a way to bring students along in our educational system.

    Like

    • susanrm8 says:

      I am completely dumbfounded. There is a total disconnect between what I am reading here and the feedback from the students I teach and tutor. Every one of those found the test easy and not at all baffling, with the exception of one passage for one student. I just don’t get it. If the students are fine with it, why are the adults all in a tizzy about it?

      Like

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