Sunday, February 23, 2014

Testing Season?

I know in the city of Chicago we have the pothole season, and the construction season, but I didn't know until recently we had a "testing season".  This is coming from the Chicago Public Schools where they claim they are cutting down on the amount of tests students have to take this year.  Though they are still making the students take the ISAT (Illinois Standard Achievement Test) test in March - not because it's an important measure of your child's abilities, not because it's going to be used for promotion, but because BBB (Barbara Byrd-Bennett) believes it will give your child "an additional opportunity to understand the increased expectations of the Common Core-aligned test" (a test that is still being created).  

In the latter part of the Spring, students will be taking the NWEA-MAP (Northwest Evaluation Association - Measure of Academic Progress) which will be used for selective enrollment requirements, and promotion policy.  It's also used in a small part (right now) towards the teachers' evaluations and a big part of the principals' evaluations.  The claim about this test is that it too is a measure of the students' knowledge based on the Common Core requirements. 

So, why even give the ISAT test this "testing season"?  In this humble teacher's opinion, it because it's already bought and paid for.  But, did you know that you as a parent have a right to have your child opt-out of taking the ISAT test?  BBB is warning schools what will happen if your child does not taking the test.  Here are her two biggest consequences thus far -
  • There will be no alternate instruction given to your child while testing is taking place. (How nice is that - a little break from the chaos and confusion of Common Core)
  • Your child will have to engage is a silent, self-guided activity while his/her classmates are testing. ( a book, take a nap...doesn't sound too threatening to me.)
If your child goes to a CPS school that school should have sent home a note from BBB herself a few weeks ago. In it, she states parents must speak to the school principal and then write a note if they want their child to opt out.  I know of some schools (not mine) where scores of parents have opted their children out of taking the ISAT test already, but I am sure you won't hear that in the main stream media...especially since "TESTING SEASON" is about to begin.

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