Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NYC: Proposing K-2 Testing

!Feliz cumpleaños a mí!

Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating by participating in a forum at my daughters’ school. 

The city is proposing standardized testing for K-2nd grade students. 

Can you believe that?! 

My 5-year olds can barely copy down a sentence that I write for them, but the city thinks it can accurately assess how kindergarteners are doing, ascertain the quality of teaching, and determine teachers’ salaries based on these young children bubbling in answers on a Scantron sheet.

Some teachers and parents organized the forum to get the word out and make other parents aware of what’s brewing in the pot.  The forum was divided into 4 workshops:

1) What is the difference between authentic assessment and standardized tests?

2) What is the difference between an authentic reading lesson and a “test preparation” lesson?

3) What is the emotional and developmental impact of standardized testing on young children?

4) How do we know what our children are learning?

I participated in workshop #4.  Basically, we stressed that while it is important to know how our children are progressing and to ensure quality teaching, standardized testing for k-2nd graders is not the best means for doing so.  We gave parents 8 action steps they can take to make sure their child is learning.  We gave them examples of questions they can ask their children about their day.  We gave them questions they can ask their child’s teachers.  And we explained what the principal and administrators are doing to maintain quality instruction. (I'll post these steps and questions later)

Taking part of this forum was a pleasure for me.  It felt good being part of a team of teachers, parents and administrators who are active, organized, and have a sincere passion for the children at the school.  This was the first time I participated in a forum. 

*Please visit these websites to learn more about this K-2 testing proposal.  
*Protest the plan by completing this online petition:
If you live in the NYC area, please help pass this information along.

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