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State testing from a parent's perspective
Old 06-03-2018, 04:12 AM
 
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I just read an article that said in some districts parents are pulling their kids out of school during state testing, and if I understand correctly, that could mean schools could lose some of their much needed Title I funds as a result. First, I didn't know parents were protesting the tests. I know not everyone agrees with state mandated testing, that it does take time away from education. As a parent though, I am not sure why a parent would protest it. I would want to know how my school district is performing, what areas my kids have their strength and weaknesses. Maybe they don't agree with testing, but at some point college bound kids have to test anyway, so they might as well get some experience as they grow up. Let's not forget licensure that so many fields are required to have now. Many may be unaware of jeopardizing Title I funds. Regardless, as a parent, I don't understand. What am I not seeing?


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Old 06-03-2018, 04:52 AM
 
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I pulled both my younger dd’s until 6th grade. With my oldest I pulled her the first year because the teacher was applying so much pressure to the kids (3rd graders) that my dd couldn’t sleep and was throwing up. I decided that it was ridiculous to do this to a child and I wasn’t going to allow it. I pulled her until she started middle school. With my next dd the school was pushing contests leading up to the tests and for those who came to school prepared and did well. She became obsessed about winning the prizes. Again, ridiculous. I pulled her until 6th grade as well and this time was met with a lot of hostility from the principal.

I know these tests are important for the school but I was not willing to allow my children to carry the burden. Once in 6th grade they were both able to handle the pressure and stess of the testing process. As far as knowing what my child’s strengths and weaknesses are I felt I got a better understanding by looking at the work they did all year long and not just on one test. My oldest graduated with honors and a full scholarship to college and my youngest has been in gifted classes for years so I think they did and are doing okay.

As a teacher myself it was a tough decision but I felt I had to put my children first.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:02 AM
 
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We have tests in the 3rd and 6th grade. Many parents don't know they can pull their kids. In some cases, the test is shameful. IEP'ed students working far, far below grade level are required to write the test. So, a Grade 3 student who is working at a Grade 2 level writes. They may get to use tech or have it read to them but that is it. It must be CRUSHING to sit there knowing that you cannot get anything correct . Exemptions are extremely rare.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:13 AM
 
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From what the two previous posters mentioned, I don't blame some parents for pulling their kids from the tests.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:31 AM
 
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We begin testing in 3rd grade and there are tests for the kids every year from 3rd grade to 12th grade. Multiple tests every year. There are no real consequences for the kids if they don't do well from 3rd to 8th grade.
My DD is a horrible test taker. She can do well in a class, do well on class tests, and then she gets really anxious on the state tests. Why? Because some teachers really put a lot of pressure on the kids. For DD, it means throwing up out of anxiety before the tests, a couple of weeks of her walking around telling me how nervous she is, and not sleeping. And her performance often does not reflect her mastery of the subject due to her anxiety. I always offered her the opportunity to opt out of the tests.


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Old 06-03-2018, 05:32 AM
 
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In parts of New York there has been a big push to opt out of state testing because the testing is too stressful to students and often times not appropriately aligned to the standards. We have had huge opt out numbers and we are finally seeing a bit of change in the testing procedures. No, the school does not losing funding.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:35 AM
 
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I can see pulling kids who are super stressed. My kids weren't super anxious over the state testing but I understand a parent doesn't want to unnecessarily want to put their kids through that kind of stress. I get that-- I actually pulled my youngest son from the entire third grade year due to anxiety issues and low academic performance to homeschool him, so I get it.

I don't believe schools should bribe the kids to takes these tests, no matter the motive. That's just wrong too.

As a para, I was also upset and what was asked of our special education students, especially the ones who were on a graduation track. It just doesn't seem fair that they have to take the same tests. Even with their helps allowed by their IEP, they did not have what it takes to do well. I think being forced to test so far above their level has a negative impact, and does more harm than good.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:44 AM
 
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I should say that it was a tremendous relief for DD to know that she simply could opt out if necessary. I think it gave her a sense of control. I also emphasized that for me I trusted her teacher's assessment of her performance---after all, they saw her every day of the school year and knew her better than her performance on one day. Most kids are chill and I never as a teacher put much emphasis on it or bribe them.
I've come to think less and less that the tests are as valid as I once thought. A few years ago, our state instituted a rule that kids could retake a test if they fell between 375 and 400. 400 is passing, a perfect score is 600. The rationale is that this might be within the standards deviation on any given day. Well, then when kids retake it, their scores shouldn't be substantially different from their first attempt (even when I remediate). I had a kid's score go up over 150 points on the retake. Now admittedly he was a kid who should've done well the first time but it still shouldn't vary that much.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:46 AM
 
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In Florida we have an Opt Out Movement, similar to New York. It is because they have made education all about passing the FSA and schools get grades based on the FSA standings and those grades can establish whether schools stay open or close after a certain number of failing grades.
I agree with a parents right to pull from testing. Education here is not about being educated anymore, it is about how many students can pass this damn test so the school can get an A.

We start testing in Kindergarten with iready and FSA begins in 3rd grade.

Too much testing!
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:52 AM
 
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The only way change will happen with standardized testing is if parents stand up to it. I completely respect a parent's decision to pull their child from a test that puts too much pressure on their child, that doesn't accurately measure their child's strengths, and/or that sets them up to fail.

With that said, parents can't opt their children out here in Maryland. As long as a student shows up during the testing window (which is like a month long), we have to test them.


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Old 06-03-2018, 05:56 AM
 
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I think itís great parents can opt a kid out of the state tests. We use the SBAC and it is soooo hard for third grade! I had a kiddo opt out this year because he has huge anxiety about tests. I didnít want him going through that for the state. I didnít need the info from the test. He didnít need the stress. Iím hoping more and more parents opt their kids out, then maybe we will start seeing a change.
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Testing
Old 06-03-2018, 06:14 AM
 
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From a retired teacher's pov, who just finished a week of proctoring, everyone has presented excellent, accurate reasons, both pro & con.

I believe the problem is not so much the tests themselves, but the class time given up to prepare for the tests and the pressure on students and teachers to preform well.

Everyday I thank my lucky stars that I retired when I did. K-2 students are tested 3 times a year on several different tests including one on one TRC tests which can take up to an hour per student. Fourth & fifth grade students take the MAPS 3 times plus the EOG tests at the end of the year. BUT the real kicker is that 3rd grade not only take all the tests the k-2 students take AND the tests the 4-5 students take they are "lucky" enough to take the BOG, Beginning of the Year test so they have a benchmark for the EOG's!!! Just to put some icing on the cake, passing the EOG is mandatory for promotion to fourth grade. But wait, there's more! Third graders in danger of retention get to take more tests to hopefully bypass the scores made on the EOG. Think of all the valuable teaching time taken away as well as all the
disruptions to schedules. I only taught third grade and it breaks my heart that, despite the superhuman efforts of the teachers, the children's
school experiences are so bleak.

This is insanity! Until parents fully understand and stand up for their children nothing will change. The powers that be don't listen to the teachers but they will listen to the parents.
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Two kids....two circumstances
Old 06-03-2018, 06:19 AM
 
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DD is perfectly average and works on tests SLOWLY. She wanted me to pull her in highschool. I refused as she has a road of testing ahead of her. (Drivers Licence, SAT...) She was not happy.

DS is severely impacted by learning disabilities and cognitive deficits. I opt him out. Then I keep him with me for the day (after I ask the teachers).

It is a bit out of hand at hours schools. There will be 10 kids sitting in the library for 4 days nearly all day and they get bored and misbehave.
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:40 AM
 
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This is the first year that our school score wasn't significantly impacted by opt outers. We have lost 2 grades each of the last 2 years at least because of the number of kids opting out. As a teacher, I say "YAY".

I hear this from many parents and fellow teachers:
Quote:
Maybe they don't agree with testing, but at some point college bound kids have to test anyway, so they might as well get some experience as they grow up.
. So, they need to start practicing in 3rd grade? Well, I have to tell you, we have tests in 3rd grade. Some of what we do is learning how to take a test.

Because this high stakes test affects my evaluation (large % is based on how kids do) you bet your butt I am going to spend time trying to get them ready. As it is I am pushed to teach them everything they need to learn in 3rd grade. Now I need to add in typing skills, writing essays in response to an overwhelmingly difficultly worded multi step questions, how to enter in math equations and complete answers, how to not stress about testing, and many, many more things - ABOUT A MONTH AND A half before school gets out. And pity the kids who have difficulty with any subject - reading, math, or writing. This test is timed and they get nothing to help. Nothing.

If my kids were going through it, I would opt them out. They don't need to have so much pressure over a test. Did I mention that this test can't be used for any classroom grades? Or that they don't even see results for months? OR that they spend not less than 9 hours doing this test?

On top of the testing required by our district...

I think we are only going to see more anxiety over it by kids. What a way to start their educations.
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:42 AM
 
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Not a parent, but in my state/area you can't just not show up on a test day and opt out.

Parents have to to come to school and fill out a form.

As a teacher I will echo what kaluha blast said. A percentage of my evaluation is on the line with testing (not necessarily the big state test).

We need the kids to at least take testing seriously - not click through in a race to get to the snack or movie or purposely answer wrong because they don't like the teacher.

If I was a parent I may worry that opting out of testing lessens my student's chances of getting into honors, gifted or magnet programs. Unfortunately how you test in K and fifth grade has great impact in my district.

As they get into middle school and high school, students' scores or lack of scores could affect what electives they take.
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:45 AM
 
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I wish all parents everywhere would opt out of these ridiculous tests, so we don't have to do them anymore. In some European countries, they don't test until high school.

My students start state testing in 3rd grade and do it every year until 12th grade. My school is evaluated based on these tests, which means EVERY grade level takes a battery of tests to ensure they will do all right on the state test. In 3rd grade we take the STAR test 3x a year (which is how I am evaluated); we do reading assessments through Fountas & Pinnell at least three times a year; the ELL kids do ACCESS testing once a year; and all kids take district-based common assessments in EVERY subject 3x a year (meaning science, social studies, language arts, reading, math, music, gym and art!).

From April until May, we do nothing but test. I have kids write notes on their tests, begging me to let them stop. I wish I could!

I don't see the point of it at all.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:22 AM
 
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You all certainly educated me on this matter. I wasn't a teacher when my own kids went through state testing. I was a para for years so I have never administered the tests myself. As a sub this year, I wasn't even allowed in the room sitting in a corner when they had testing. My experience with the test is limited so I have learned a lot from your responses. I didn't even realize there was a movement to protest these tests.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:48 AM
 
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The only way change will happen with standardized testing is if parents stand up to it. I completely respect a parent's decision to pull their child from a test that puts too much pressure on their child, that doesn't accurately measure their child's strengths, and/or that sets them up to fail.
I fully agree. I wish more parents would opt out. It will hurt in the short term because schools do get evaluated on the percentage of students who take the test as well as percent who pass. And it does seem to be students with the more involved, proactive parents who are likely to be opted out because you have to go into the school and sign a form to do it. Students with involved, proactive parents tend to be higher performing, which means the school is losing that high performing student's scores in their overall score.

But the only way it will change is if everyone just stops participating. If just a couple opt out, it's a problem for the school. If most opt out, it's a protest that might effect change.

Quote:
s a parent though, I am not sure why a parent would protest it. I would want to know how my school district is performing, what areas my kids have their strength and weaknesses.
The test does not tell me anything I don't already know about my students. It's mostly a confirmation. Occasionally I'll get a student who tests either higher than he performs in class or much lower, but for the most part, being a daily teacher doing daily teacher things gives me all the information I need to know.

If you're an involved parent, you know how your school is performing and don't need a test for that. If you're not an involved parent, the test doesn't really tell you anything you need to know anyway.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:31 PM
 
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From the school side, I don't see the point of state testing. I think it takes away valuable time. I don't think it's fair that testing results reflect on teacher's performance. I think education is over regulated by those without teaching experience. I just never thought parents would have good reason to oppose testing.
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:39 PM
 
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Maybe they don't agree with testing, but at some point college bound kids have to test anyway, so they might as well get some experience as they grow up.
This is an awful argument. At some point, college bound kids are going to have to do Calculus, anyway, so let's start that in Kindergarten too. These high pressure tests aren't age appropriate for under high school age (and not necessary above that). They are a political manoeuvre designed to keep teachers under the thumb, while providing not one iota of information that is actually useful for the education process. I've never learnt anything from our NAPlaN tests about a child that I didn't already know from having them in my classroom day in and day out. At best, the tests are a snapshot of that one day - was the child well? Were things at home stable? Had they had an argument on the playground? Was the technology working? So many many variables that can affect them in that moment.

Tying pay and evaluation into something over which teachers have no control (I'm sure we've all seen the kid who looked at the test, said "f*** this s***" and did nothing for the time) is an abomination.

In case you can't tell, if I could, I'd encourage every parent everywhere to opt their kids out. Then we might get rid of this blot on the educational landscape.
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:48 PM
 
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I wish parents would protest by using their right to vote. So many times I see parents complain about the school over testing their kid, but it is driven by the greedy people they voted into office.

Things will not change until parents stand up against the politicians who are lining their pockets with money from the test makers!

As a parent, I have not opted out of testing, but I would in a heartbeat if they felt the anxiety that some parents describe. My kids are older though.

Last edited by TaffyFL; 06-03-2018 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: Forgot to add parent's perspective
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:48 PM
 
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Tiamat, I agree that was an awful argument after reading other responses. I'm almost embarrassed I gave it. I am also starting to see opting out might be a good way to fight this practice. I think a lot of parents really do not know they have a choice, or like me, ignorant of all the issues. I thought I knew....
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:48 PM
 
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In my state parents can fill out a form to opt out of testing and that is what I choose for my son every year.

Why? Testing very stressful for him with little to no payoff for the stress. My son has anxiety, Touretteís and ADHD. A testing scenario is horrifying for him. Also the testing data is horribly biased and not a good representation of what student know. The testing data, as the flawed tool that it is in no good as a formative assessment to help his teachers inform their instruction. So itís stressful for him, leading to bad behaviors and melt down and all it gives back is faulty unusable data that no one uses for his benefit. So, for my child, it an obvious choice. Opting him out of testing is being a good parent.

I also encourage my friends and family to opt their kids out as well. Even those without special needs. It stresses out all kids. I had a ďnormalĒ Third grade student this year freeze during what test and when I went over to ask her if she needed anything she fell apart in tears. Why put sensitive or anxious ďnormalĒ kids through this when is doesnt help more than it hurts. Why put them through it. High stakes State testing didnít exist when many of us were kids and yet we did just fine on later tests like SATs and ACTs so I bet todayís kids donít benefit from if for that purpose either. And struggling learners and SpEd kids sit in front of it and lose their self esteem as they get more and more frustrated and feel stupid. To me high stakes testing is just short of child abuse for some kids. Just say no
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Testing
Old 06-06-2018, 05:15 AM
 
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I hate it, way too much emphasis on testing. Here, we test from 3rd grade on. Those tests, IMO, are ridiculous. As a teacher and a parent, I know what my class can do and what my children can do.

I feel like testing is jst another money thing. I don't think we'll ever get rid of testing cause there are millions of dollars involved. Just think of the companies who do nothing but write tests. Maybe, maybe if enough parents protest testing might decrease a bit, but I don't really believe it.

I also don't think one test accurately measures all kids. Kids are more than a test, their strengths may not lie in academia and may not show up on a test.

As you can tell, I hate testing. Blech.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:48 PM
 
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I agree with you that they need to get used to testing. I also agree that I'd want to know if my child isn't learning everything he/she needs to know. While I do hate the pressure of testing, I also know it's just part of life. Are they going to let them get a driver's license? There's a test.

I'm guessing the pressure is getting to the parents more than the children. I've taught 3rd grade for 13 years and the kids weren't really stressed out. It was the parents who worried to death about it. It was the same with report cards, however. The parents couldn't be satisfied with a C or even a B in some cases, and they in-turn stressed out the child.

We have several parents pulling out their kids this year to go to a private school and/or homeschool them. That has come up before and after a year or 2, the parents send them back. Sometimes it's only after a few months.

I don't know how it affects funding, but I do know it gives us less students in the classroom in the meantime.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:27 PM
 
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Yes, they will need to pass the driver's license test if they want to drive.

To get a learner's permit in my state (age 15): 25 multiple choice questions. You need an 80 to pass, and after you miss 5 questions the test automatically ends. The test takes probably no more than 20 min for the slowest test-taker. In fact, it is so fast that at my DMV you stand at a kiosk and take it on a computer screen while standing. If you fail, you can retake it 2 more times after waiting 2 days before needing to reapply. It is not uncommon for kids to fail.I knew one student who failed 6 times before getting her license. So the stakes are pretty low because there are opportunities for retaking.

9th grade tests in my state (age 15): maximum times are listed, although most students finish in 2/3 of the max time.
4 hour math test, 60 problems
2 hour English test, 50 questions
2 hour science
2 hour social studies
Any elective except PE, arts, foreign language: 100 questions, up to 4 hours
Repeat basically this same combination every year until graduation.

I hardly think these tests are needed preparation for their driver's test. The driver's test is far more similar to a short unit test ir a formative assessment.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
I hardly think these tests are needed preparation for their driver's test. The driver's test is far more similar to a short unit test ir a formative assessment.
Wow, Tyrex - sorry if I offended you. I was just giving a quick example. There are many other tests (ACT, National Merit, Praxis, GED, .....) - that was just the first one I thought about. You don't have to agree with me. I was just supporting the OP.
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