Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Excessive Testing as Child Abuse - Midterm Benchmarks to 1st Graders in ELA and Math

My principal was an early adapter - in the 80s - of the testing regime - a major cause of the difficulties between us. I had absolutely no respect for her as an educator. She instituted a highly expensive series of benchmark tests throughout the school year - that was pretty much it for me as a self-contained classroom teacher and I became a computer cluster. So this dialogue this morning caught my attention.

A parent on the Change the Stakes listserve asked:

This year, standardized assessments are in place for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade.

a True

b False

A - 1st grade teacher responded:
True. In fact this week I'm supposed to administer a midterm benchmark in ELA and math to my first graders. I'm livid. It's to assess how they are progressing on mastering the skills on the MOSL tests, which are given at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year and are for teacher eval purposes only (20% of our rating is based on a local measure & many NYC schools are using the MOSL). Some schools, like the Earth School, got a waiver through their participation in the newly created PROSE program.
At the beginning of the year I had to admin MOSL in my 1st grade class. They are developmentally inappropriate, a colossal waste of time.
Parents do not know the full extent of what's going on. I see it as my duty to get this out. I'm working on a new blog post now...will detail the insanity of the midterm benchmark. I really don't want to administer it. 

Do all schools give this test?
It depends on what your school chose to use as their local measure of student learning. Many schools, like mine, went with the NYC performance assessments created by NYCDOE. They are awful. I think they now call them tasks. Ask if they are giving midterm benchmarks in K-5 in the next two weeks. 
Furthermore it's sneaky. Parents at my school aren't notified & teachers find out just days before.
For an analysis of the poor quality of MOSL tests see:


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