Learning First: End High-Stakes Testing

  • by: Carol Burris
  • recipient: The New York State Board of Regents

We, the undersigned, support higher standards that are reasonably designed, implemented thoughtfully, and accompanied by the resources schools need to achieve them. The New York State testing program has undermined the implementation of such higher learning standards, by creating a test-driven environment that does not serve our children well.  High stakes testing has been in existence for more than a decade, wasting precious taxpayer dollars and student learning time and it has not worked.  The time has come to say, “no more”.

  We believe the following:

 ·         High-stakes testing lowers the quality of education due to “teaching to the test”.  It reduces time for the enrichment students need and enjoy, while increasing unhealthy emotional stress in our children.

 ·         Testing results belong to students and families. They should not be used to close schools, retain students or evaluate educators, and they should never be used for commercial purposes nor given to national databases.

 ·         Schools should be safe havens where students feel secure and cared for, not sorted and ranked by test scores. They should not be places where children feel inadequate, stressed and unsuccessful.  No nine-year old should be told whether he is on the road to “college readiness”.  It is absurd to try to make such predictions.

 ·         All tests and student results should be available to teachers and parents after test administration. They should be used only to inform parents and teachers about a child’s learning and to improve instruction.  Tests should exist to serve students not politicians or for-profit testing companies.

 Based on the above, we support an immediate moratorium on high stakes testing in the State of New York.   Testing exists to serve our students.  Our students do not exist to serve testing. 



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