Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Fetishization Of "Assessments," Accountability And Compliance

A Perdido Street School blog reader writes the following:

Test prep for standardized tests should be abolished in schools - Our schools are turning into test prep factories. The state tests are just administered in different formats (Common formative assessments) - throughout the year. You cannot reduce testing AND require "accountability" that is based on tests. It doesn't matter what changes a "committee" makes to the test - they will still be used to measure and punish schools, students, and teachers. This in turn creates a culture of fear and school leaders react by mandating MORE practice tests. Therefore, their call for reducing testing is meaningless.

Indeed, it's been my experience that the common monthly "assessments" - coming ten times a year in every subject - are standardized tests by another name only.

These "assessments" (a euphemism for test that educrats and education reformers adopted which I refuse to use) are used for "accountability" and "compliance" - are teachers teaching what the administration wants taught, are students learning these lessons and demonstrating them via the monthly common "assessments"?

For English and math, they're EngageNY-based or CCSS Regents exam assignments while in other grades, they're Regents exam-based assignments.

They function, quite frankly, as standardized testing and compliance measures, not authentic learning.

Obama and Cuomo can talk about capping testing time in schools all they want.

The culture of schools has been infected by constant "assessment," compliance and accountability via the EngageNY curriculum, the Common Core standards, and the Danielson rubric - all of these are used as bludgeons against teachers and schools and ensure that, no matter an arbitrary cap on testing time, the Endless Testing regime will live on.


  1. Try teaching in a receivership school. There is even more testing and tracking than ever before all to get off the list. And I highly doubt it will stop if we even get off the list for fear of being put right back on it. The madness will never end!

    1. Given how insane things are where I am, I can't imagine what you're describing is happening at receivership schools.

      The insanity around compliance and so-called accountability has elevated these bean counters and data fetishists to gods, coming around bestowing life and death on schools.

    2. You're right about the receivership schools. We spent most of September and a bit of October giving assessments. Naturally, there are endless meetings devoted to analysis of the test data. We're all shell-shocked, of course, so the info is meaningless to us. The sad thing is that it took me almost a month to learn my students' names this year.

  2. any thoughts on the waiver NYC DoE sought last week... I saw the article in the post.... but nothing on the blogs....would like to read more about the Evaluation system ... what is going on with the independent observer????

    1. Over 600 districts remain without either the new system in place or a negotiated system awaiting approval by NYSED:

      Not a surprise that the NYCDOE would apply for a waiver. Looks like 90% of the rest of the districts will as well.

      What will Cuomo's reaction be when that happens?

      My guess is, he will be subdued, as the politics around testing and the evaluation system have changed since he shoved this through in April during the budget season. Thus his CCSS review.

      Also, the judge in the Lederman case should be rendering a decision soon - that will change the politics (and practicalities) around the issue even more.

      So, my guess is, the current system abysmal as it is, remains. Quite frankly, I was looking forward to the new one, since it drops the observations from four to two and seems unworkable given the emphasis on testing (50%) and the outside observers.