It’s testing as usual, in about 4,000 public schools across New York State. Only this time around, from June 2-11, students in grades 3-8 are being “field tested,” a method the state and its contractor Pearson use to work out material for future exams.
Yet there are districts choosing not to administer parts of the field exams. Babylon, Hauppauge and Plainview Old-Bethpage are just some of the Long Island districts not field-testing their students on at least some of the subjects, according to Diane Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University.
Syosset School Superintendent Ron Friedman turned to Facebook on May 30 to explain his position on field tests.
“The tests take away even more instructional time, on top of so much lost time already due to state assessments and prepping for them,” he wrote.
The push against field tests extends beyond Long Island.
"We are not the research and development arm of Pearson," Rye Neck Superintendent Peter Mustich told lohud.com.
Still, the state maintains that districts must administer the tests.
"If a school or a school district doesn't participate in a field test, that school or district shifts its responsibility onto other New York state schools and districts," State Education Department Spokesman Jonathan Burman told lohud.com.
Yet education advocates like Friedman question the value field tests deliver.
“If last year’s field tests had done what they were supposed to do, one would think this year’s ‘real’ assessments would have been of markedly better quality,” he pointed out.
Noting that some advocates interpret the "laws and regulations to mean that field tests are not mandated or required," and that families could chose to opt out, Friedman noted that if directed by the State Education Department to administer the tests, “I would do so to protect the district.” Ultimately, that's what happened. And after consulting with attorneys, the district went ahead with the tests.
What’s your position on field-testing? Is your district administering these tests? Are your kids taking them? Share your experience in the comment section below.