What do you know about SLO TESTS? Are you aware they’re being given to children as young as four?
If you read nothing else today, read this and the enclosed links, before school starts.
“Picture a kindergartner or first grader heading to school, a mix of excitement, curiosity and fear as the child starts the school year. How would that child react to starting the school year with an exam containing words and concepts that she has not experienced? Is this “pre-assessment” of skills that a child will need to learn by the end of the current school year the first impression of education that we would want a young student to have? Sadness, apprehension, and feelings of failure are not the way we want our children to begin the start of the school year.
Welcome to the world of corporate education children. The pre-assessment is the ignorant idea from so-called reformers that we can measure a child’s academic growth by comparing test results at the beginning of the school-year to an exam towards the end of the term.
In New York State, we call the aftermath of the pre-assessment Student Learning Objectives(SLO).”
These tests are given to children so they can PURPOSELY FAIL, in order for the teachers to show growth by the end of the year. What does that do to the morale of a child just beginning school? One who is four and only our of diapers a year or two? See here;
“My 4 year old came home from her third day of kinder today (which is her third day of public schooling ever) and said: “I failed the gym test today. I didn’t know any of the answers.” She can’t read yet mind you. Fix this mess in New York!
Who do you think is getting a call on Friday morning? Followed by nasty emails to the Superintendent, our Regent, Roger Tilles, and new NYSED Commish Elia. This only strengthens my resolve to fight the madness that is NYS public elementary school testing. We fought this for the last few years to prevent this exact scenario; to prevent our youngest from being exposed to high stakes tests used to evaluate her teacher BEFORE she can even read. Now I feel like I have failed.
Make a 4 year old uneasy on her third day so much so that the first thing she says when she comes home is she failed. How does she even know what passing or failing is? Who does this? We certainly don’t talk to her about tests, and we are very careful in our home conversation about the refusal movement.
The powers that be have lost sight of the meaning of the German word kindergarten: children’s garden.”
“They are partly right, which means they are partly misinformed. The main point here is that this test is used in APPR TO EVALUATE TEACHERS. Not students. The tests, most cases are a constructed by the teacher(s) and initiated in the beginning and end of the year. The students are taking a test based on information they HAVE NOT learned are have been told, “don’t worry, you are supposed to do badly”. At the end of the year they take the post test. The outcome is supposed to show growth. In a true growth model this IS an effective tool that a teacher can use IN THEIR classroom to drive instruction. SLO’S are NOT used this way and therefore should not be taken. They are used to calculate the local
portion of said teachers score to rate their effectiveness, or lack of. A very terrible measure. I write my own and they prove NOTHING.
This is very different then a district derived benchmark test that is used by the teacher to analyze student understanding and knowledge base, reflect on it, and then use it to drive instruction and create a comprehensive curriculum which addresses each students needs best. These ARE TO BE TAKEN BY THE STUDENTS. People need to understand the difference. Because there is one.
Simply: If it’s NYS RELATED and going up to the state to rate the teacher… Opt out
If it’s in house or local and staying in the district with the teachers, then take it.
This movement isn’t about “test taking”. It’s a much LARGER AGENDA that I feel you need to do more research on.”
Jessica McNair of Opt Out CNY shares :
“There is something important we must discuss here: testing related to SLOs and REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE.
So why do we need to talk about SLOS? I think the easy response is to listen to the horror stories that parents in other opt out or activist groups have shared since their kids went back to school. Kids as young as 4 arrived home from the first days of school and announced that they had failed a test in gym class (link above). During the first week middle schoolers are taking up to 8 tests a day on material that they have not yet been taught. WHY? To fulfill NYS teacher evaluation (APPR) requirements.
To (attempt to) measure teacher effectiveness, students are given an exam at the very start of the schools year to create “baseline data”. The results of the fall exam are compared to the results of a spring exam to see if the student showed growth. From this, part of a teacher’s evaluation is determined. But make no mistake-this is not about teachers, this is about kids. There is absolutely no need for kids to be deemed “failures” on the first day of school, especially our youngest. SLOs and testing affect kids in the lower grades (K-2) and upper grades, not just grades 3-8.
Which assessment(s) your child is given will depend on your district, the grade, and the content area (regular classroom, music, HS science elective etc). It’s easy to tell you to refuse the big ‘ol NYS tests-every 3rd through 8th grader gets offered the same one, but to refuse SLOS, PARENTS must get the information about the SLOs- find out when they are given (often on the first day or week of school), and how they are used. Please submit your refusal letter NOW.
There is one more element of SLOs that make refusing a bit difficult. Some schools implemented assessments to address SLOs only to fulfill the state APPR requirement-they lack purpose or meaning to your child’s education. Some SLOs aren’t aligned with the curriculum. Many SLOs present kids with information they haven’t yet learned setting them up to fail so that the child shows growth by spring. HOWEVER, some schools took a more responsible approach. Some SLOs CAN provide your child, the teacher, and you the parent with helpful information that you may find useful and/or would benefit your child in the classroom by providing information to inform instruction.
Here’s the thing:
I can’t tell you which type of SLO your child will be given.
I can’t tell you if your SLO is a “bad one” or a “good one”
But I can tell you that if you’re not sure, it would be wise to refuse on Day 1. Why? I’d rather tell you to refuse so that your child is protected from any possible negative consequence related to APPR/SLO testing during the first week of school. If, after the fact, you determine that the SLO assessment may benefit your child, then ask for your child to be given the assessment. A test can be given a few weeks from now after you’ve gathered your information and talked with the teacher and other parents, but feelings of failure your child may feel by participating in a SLO during the first few days of school cannot be reversed.
I am certain that this will generate a lot of discussion-and I hope it does. Surely there will be parents, teachers and administrators that disagree with refusing SLOs. We will make more waves, we will cause “inconvenience”, we will make schools question their practices. I only see this as positive progress-if it makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably the right thing to do.
I urge you all to think through all aspects of the debate and read through the guidelines at the link below. Most importantly, whatever you decide, please get your grade 3-8 refusal letter in your child’s backpack for the first day of school.”
Schools will NOT appreciate your refusal of SLO exams. They will tell you they have no other way to measure student growth. How was it done before common core and the standardization craze? Ask them that question and demand a return to child centered education. We must halt this abuse. It gets worse by the day. While the politicians clown around with rhetoric, our babies suffer irreparable damage. Shame on these people. And shame on those who do nothing to stand up for child rights. We weep for the children.