Read the Letter to SED About Testing

More than 60 teachers at Spencerport’s Cosgrove Middle School have signed a petition calling for action by the NYS Commissioner of Education John King, Chancellor Meryl Tisch, and Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The petition takes issue specifically with this year’s ELA and Math tests for grades 3-8 characterizing the tests as “poorly written, developmentally inappropriate, deliberately confusing, and ambiguous.”  Additionally, the tests require students to complete tasks with insufficient time.

Stand with Spencerport – SIGN THE LETTER TODAY


To Whom It May Concern:

We, the teachers at Cosgrove Middle School in Spencerport, NY, hereby demand transparency and accountability in the administration and scoring of the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math exams.  When teachers, parents, and the public cannot access the tests students are required to take, in their entirety, test-makers and policy-makers are not held accountable for the following:

  • Reading passages that are:
    • Poorly-written
    • Developmentally inappropriate
  • Questions that are:
    • Poorly-written
    • Developmentally inappropriate
    • Deliberately confusing
    • Ambiguous, with multiple correct answers, or no clear, correct answer
  • Tasks in which students are given insufficient time for their completion

In their current state, these tests serve no discernible purpose other than wasting precious
hours of instruction in order to rank schools, teachers and students against one another. Even if the tests weren’t completely flawed, which they are, the data that they generate are vague, released to schools too late to be of any relevance, and are completely useless to our instructional practices. Without access to the test questions themselves, these exams provide us with no valuable information to help our students learn.

If time on task is important, and teachers are truly valued, we must be allowed to teach. We will lose approximately three weeks of instructional time to administer and score these absurd exams. Effective students have effective teachers who are in the classroom…teaching.

As educators, we are constantly asked, “What’s best for students?” but it’s obvious that
these tests do not have students’ best interests in mind. At best, these exams waste time and money. At worst, they traumatize students and create unnecessary stress in their lives. Students gain nothing of value from taking them, and their teachers gain nothing of value in their administration and scoring.

To correct these grievous errors, Commissioner King and the Board of Regents must eliminate these exams entirely, or be held accountable for their quality by releasing them to educators and the public for scrutiny. The privilege of keeping the exams secure was lost when they became grossly flawed and filled with purposefully deceptive questions. Only when our concerns are heard and addressed can we honestly say that the question “What’s best for students?” is guiding education in New York State.

Stand with Spencerport – SIGN THE LETTER TODAY


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