District reacts to new state tests

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“Technically, according to the way the state defines it, they did not [participate] because there is not a test paper for them with a score on it,” Johnson said. “We will have to take this one step at a time and see what happens. But I think the position we should take on it is that our kids did, in fact, participate and stayed for the entire exam. The fact that they didn’t fill anything in is a choice they made at the time of the exam.”

Johnson felt that the exam, which was revamped by the state this year to fall in line with the new Common Core Standards, failed in the most basic way: to show how much children learned during the year.

“The tests themselves and the questions that were used to assess our kids this year were, to me, very problematic,” Johnson said. He explained that tests should be designed to assess children and show what they’re learning and whether they’re improving every year.

“Never at the end of the day could you, as a result of what you saw with a child’s actual performance on these tests, know what they know and what they don’t know,” said Johnson. “It gets back to the utilization of this as data for us to make decisions about kids. It’s going to tell us nothing. We can’t learn from what this data is going to show us.

“I think there are going to be some serious discussions about the validity of this measurement device that they’ve constructed this year in terms of what it’s actually measuring,” he later added.

The other large point of concern was the agreement New York state made with the educational company inBloom to give them student data.

“New York state and several other states have entered into an agreement with inBloom that they will provide to them our student data — their grades, their schools and their assessment results,” Pellettieri explained. “And the idea is that inBloom would target interventions with specificity for your child.”

But inBloom would collect more than just testing data. It would also have the names, addresses and phone numbers of the students — information that the school district is not allowed to distribute.

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