New York State: Release the tests!
New York State contracted with Pearson to produce what now appear to be flawed tests. The problem starts before that: New York State, not a for-profit company, should be writing the tests (if we really need them at all), and the tests should be written for the students of NY State, not in order to make a fast buck.
But now we all know about the pineapple race. And have heard that there were other problems.
And today I have a new one. But I can’t share it with you. I don’t know exactly what it is. But on the 7th grade math test, Pearson asked a question that’s not a 7th grade math question in New York State. It’s not a k – 6 math question either.
Apparently it involves angles inside a parallelogram, or angles formed when a third line crosses two parallel lines. How hard are parallelogram questions? Not so hard. If you have studied them. But NY State puts out a very specific roadmap of stuff to teach. Grade by grade. And there’s so much in there, most schools stick pretty close to it, so that the kids will be familiar with everything on the test. Extra topics that are due to be taught in 8th grade or 9th grade? 7th grade teachers are unlikely to add future topics, as they scramble to get through the too many topics NYS has placed in 7th grade.
How do I know this much? Look at this discussion. You’ll know too.
And I don’t know more than that.
The test is secure. The State and its vendor try to keep people from discussing it. They say they want to reuse questions. And clearly, that is Pearson’s habit (our unlucky pineapple has already visited a half-dozen states).
But “test security” prevents the public from discussing the dreck New York State pays for. And that’s wrong. If the tests were wonderful (if we really needed so many, or any, tests) and they were secure, that would be one thing. But today “security” allows the State and the vendor to hide their shameful product from the residents of NY, while victimizing the children.
The contract with Pearson should be terminated. NYS should reassess how many, if any, tests should be given – and should write any tests itself.
And the current tests should be immediately released. The public should see. The public should know.