Two news stories from test-world: The first from The Washington Post reports the testimony of a second grader at the New Jersey State Board:
Dear members of the New Jersey State Board, and fellow stakeholders:
Hi. My name is Saige Price. I go to Briarwood Elementary School in Florham Park where I attend second grade. Thank you for allowing me to speak today. I would like to talk about play in school and the need for more time for free play. Children should have more recess because it allows us to play with our friends. Instead, we spend most of our time just reading, doing math problems, taking math tests and reading tests.
Is that all that matters to grown-ups?
What about more lunch time, more time for violin, doing more creative stuff in art, dance, or musical theater, more gym time, or more time to learn what we want? What about creating our own problems?
And the second is about the always newsworthy world of kindergarten testing and independent school admissions in Manhattan. Last year many schools dropped the requirement for the test – commonly known as the E.R.B. – for kindergarten admissions. The main reasons was that the testing had created an unhealthy competitive frenzied angst among parents and a whole industry of test prep coaches and tutors. Their success at boosting scores had tainted the validity of a test that many experts regard as meaningless to begin with. (And remember – this is about pre-school kids.)
The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) strongly counsels against test prep. But of course it still happens.
Some schools still use the test as a yardstick for kindergarten admissions
The Educational Records Bureau defended its test asserting its validity as a uniform assessment. However ,they also recognize that tutoring and prep affect scores. They have taken to emailing messages like this to parents:
“You may elect to have the test report sent on to the schools to which you are applying with the notation ‘ERB cannot verify the accuracy of these results due to qualities observed during testing that indicate coaching/tutoring,’ ”
And that’s where the lawyers come in.
And then there’s this from Lani Guinier :