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NYSUT to Regents: Demand action from State Education commissioner to correct the tests

Delegates at the New York State United Teachers Representative Assembly called on the state Board of Regents to direct the State Education commissioner and Education Department to make the necessary changes to fix the state’s broken grades 3–8 testing system and the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.

The more than 1,700 delegates in attendance at the union’s annual convention unanimously passed a resolution calling for that action. It states in part that “NYSUT has no confidence in the commissioner and the State Education Department to make the necessary changes to fix the state’s grades 3–8 testing system and NYSESLAT on their own.”

The full resolution outlining the necessary fixes is at the end of this release.

“After the state put students through yet another year of this testing debacle, enough is enough,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Our children deserve better, and it’s time the State Education Department finally delivered for them.”

The resolution passed by delegates calls for:

  • the meaningful involvement of teachers selected by NYSUT in every phase of the grades 3–8 tests and NYSESLAT development process;
  • setting the appropriate scoring benchmarks by a large group of teachers representing the diversity of the state to ensure the tests accurately measure student knowledge and learning;
  • a reduction of the number of questions on the tests;
  • an independent study of the performance of students on computer-based testing versus paper-and-pencil tests to determine the impact on school accountability; and
  • the formation of a committee of educators to review the study and develop a plan for the appropriate implementation of computer-based testing; such a plan must make a determination about the appropriate grade in which to begin computer-based testing.

“We have received reports from every corner of the state about testing issues that have left students, parents and educators exasperated, yet the state has not outlined any plan to ensure these problems do not happen ever again,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango said. “The time for action is now. We look forward to working with the Board of Regents to ensure the voices of educators finally reverberate throughout the Education Department.”

The vote comes amid NYSUT’s Correct the Tests campaign to raise awareness of the serious issues with the grades 3–8 ELA and math tests and demand state action to fix these flawed, invalid tests that are harmful to New York students.

Parents and educators are encouraged to visit CorrectTheTests.org for more information about the flaws with these tests and parents’ rights to opt their children out of taking the tests. The website also provides an outlet for parents and teachers to submit stories about testing issues in their schools.

Earlier this week, NYSUT released the Correct the Tests report, which details a number of the accounts the union has received.

That report can be read here.


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