April 8, 2014
Dear P.S. 116 Families,
As you know, our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students just completed their New York State Department of Education CCLS ELA exams. Our students were well prepared, did their best, and they have much to be proud of.
We are writing to you today to express our concerns about the exams that were administered. Unfortunately, educators are banned from discussing the specific content of these exams as they are embargoed by the state. We are not banned however, from speaking about our personal feelings about these exams. Those of us with nearly 20 years in education found the passages extremely challenging for our students — some far beyond the reading levels that are appropriate for 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders. In addition, many questions were confusing and not matched to grade-specific Common Core Learning Standards. The tests were also extremely long and several students were unable to finish.
We have always believed that the results of any standardized exam cannot represent an accurate measure of what students have learned or what they are able to do. If anything, last week’s exams further reinforced this belief and have left us extremely disheartened. However, although we will not consider any data presented from these exams as reliable or effective, unfortunately, we cannot say the same for the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Results from these exams, written by Pearson, and paid for with millions of tax dollars, will be used to determine the future of our hardest working, most dedicated educators...our teachers. And, although legislators recently agreed that test scores cannot be used for promotion in New York City, 4th grade data from these exams may still be used for middle and high school placements.
Administrators, teachers, families and students across the state have been speaking out all week against these tests and yet the NYSED has dismissed legitimate, informed feedback as “minimal” and “not representative.”
PLEASE JOIN US IN PROTEST AND DEMONSTRATION TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE NYSED THAT THE FEEDBACK THEY ARE RECEIVING IS NOT MINIMAL, BUT IN FACT, A MUCH MORE REPRESENTATIVE SENTIMENT.
P.S. 116 School Yard
Friday, April 11th at 8:00am
Schools all over District 2 will be doing the same. We have included a letter, co-written by District 2 principals. Together, hopefully, our voices will be heard.