Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Regents Blame Local Districts For Too Much Testing

The state evaluation system requires that teachers be held accountable for their students' test scores.

40% of the evaluation is based on test scores - 20% from state tests, 20% from "local measures."

In order for teachers to be evaluated on the local measures, students in every grade in every subject must be tested at the beginning of the year to get a "baseline" of knowledge so that when they are tested again in every grade in every subject, the state can figure out whether teachers have "added value" to these students over the course of the year.

It's an insane system that requires a ton of "assessments" and "tests" in order to pull it off so that every teacher can be evaluated for their local measures.

Having to give all these "assessments" and "tests" in every grade in every subject so that teachers can be evaluated is not the fault of local school districts - it is the fault of the educrats who put this system together, the legislature that passed it into law, the union leadership that signed off on it despite members like myself warning over-testing was going to be a huge problem, and the governor who signed it into law and forced it onto every school district in the state by tying evaluation system impositions to budget increases.

But of course the Regents and the SED do not take the blame for this mess themselves - oh, no, like Sheriff Andy Cuomo yesterday, they displaced the blame onto others by throwing the responsibility for all the testing onto the local school districts themselves:

Some agreed with King that school districts should take more initiative in reducing the number of tests used locally. The commissioner's aides pointed to what they consider the positive example of districts such as Herricks, which sharply reduced the amount of pre-testing done in the fall to determine students' "baseline" knowledge.

"Sometimes it gets a little tiresome to take all the responsibility for change," said Anthony Bottar of Syracuse, the board's vice chancellor. "Local leaders have to do their job as well."

SED Commissioner King imposed the teacher evaluation system for NYC teachers himself.

It has an insane amount of testing built into it.

And even the test "reduction" options that are open to schools within the system are insane.

For example, in my school we could have given "assessments" in every subject in every grade in September and June and used that to evaluate teachers on the local measure.

But that would have meant an insane amount of testing (and an insane amount of test creation, since many of these tests are not available from the state and the city, especially for vocational classes), so instead we decided to use the ELA performance assessment to evaluate teachers in every subject in every grade on their local measures.

That means social studies, science, physical education, art and vocational teachers will all be rated on how well their students do on ELA tests.

That's one of the "fixes" for the over-testing problem that the Regents and SED are talking about, and like so much of the reform agenda they have pushed onto schools, it is an insane one - teachers being evaluated by test scores for students they don't teach in subjects that neither teach or are licensed in

This whole reform agenda is falling apart, piece by piece.

Cuomo, Tisch, King, Duncan, the Board of Regents, the NYSED - all are flailing away, trying to hold together the inherent contradictions and problems with the Common Core/testing reforms.

And quite frankly, they're not doing a very good job of it.

Trying to displace the blame for this mess onto others - local school leaders, administrators in schools, teachers, parents and students are not at fault for any of this mess.

This is all on Tisch, King, Cuomo, the Regents and SED.


  1. Schools will test the kids with local tests to make sure that when they take the state tests, that they do as well as possible.

    1. The local tests are actually to grade us, the teachers. We have juniors taking Regents exams and performance assessments, the assessments are not aligned to the Regents. One doesn't work quite neatly with the other. With all the test prep the kids are getting, they're having a hard time keeping track of what they're supposed to do in each class and for each test and assessment. World class education we're giving them, eh?

  2. Excellent video by Political Articles:
    Why Cuomo Can't Win a Dem. (presidential) primary:
    1. Democrats 2. The Koch Bros (yes, he's received $ from them
    3. Taxes 4. Teachers 5. Labor (the analyst cited Brooklyn Rail's question, "Is Cuomo NY's Scott Walker?")

    1. I agree Cuomo won;t win the Dem nomination. The Daily Kossacks have gone after him as a fake Dem, so he will have a tough time winning over the liberals. He's basically running a MOR general election strategy by pushing tax cuts and business friendliness here in NY - that's not going to win the Dem nomination in 2016 for him. And that's assuming he's not exposed as a crook via his own Moreland Commission and/or the backlash from it.

  3. Here is where this is going. The pre and post tests are part of the SLO, if a teacher does not have a state test. Some high school teachers who have Regents exams as the final assessment have pre-tests because a "growth" measure does not correlate from biology to, say, physics. Then there is the local 20 percent for which some districts have developed their own assessments with pre and post tests to avoid having gym teachers take a math or English score for their local 20 percent when they don't teach the subject. Or worse, take an SAT or PSAT score for the local 20. I actually see the Regents moving toward forcing districts to take a testing measure only from the approved list and eliminating the locally designed option for the local measure. This would cut down on some testing and really be a punitive measure for those rowdy districts. But maybe I just don't trust the powers that be.

    1. I can see them making state tests 40% total, no local measures. I don't think they'll get away with it, however. The problem for them now is that the public has awoken to the problem with these tests and the emphasis on them in schools. Switching the eval to 40% state tests, no local tests doesn't solve that for them.