FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jane Maisel or Nancy Cauthen, email@example.com
By announcing that state test scores will no longer be the primary factor in promotion decisions, the NYC Department of Education has taken an important first step toward eliminating the educational harm caused by high-stakes testing. Change the Stakes applauds the DOE for making this long overdue change. The previous policy, which was overwhelmingly opposed by educators, researchers and parents when approved 10 years ago, was misguided and detrimental to student learning.
The parents and educators of Change the Stakes strongly support the basic premises of the new policy – first, that teachers who know students best should drive promotion decisions, and second, that those decisions should be based on a holistic assessment of student performance throughout the year. But we firmly believe that state test scores should not be used at all in promotion decisions. These standardized assessments were never designed for this purpose.
To facilitate implementation of the new promotions policy, Change the Stakes urges the DOE to:
- Communicate this important change directly to parents to ensure they understand that the process will be substantially different this year.
- Clarify as soon as possible how the “promotion portfolio” will be developed and evaluated in a way that ensures fairness and equity across districts while offering individual schools some flexibility.
- Designate a citywide office parents can contact with any questions or concerns during the first year of implementation of the new policy. This will help promote transparency, accountability and parental engagement.
- Identify funding and other resources to support more intensive, high-quality student support services for those identified as needing support throughout the year.
To build on this positive initial step toward reducing the high stakes associated with standardized testing, we urge the DOE to remove state test scores from consideration in middle school and high school admissions.
Finally, Change the Stakes calls on the governor and the NYS legislature to take immediate action to remove one of its most damaging high-stakes testing policies– using state test results to evaluate teachers. This policy, known as APPR, is based on junk science and has been criticized by a wide coalition of educational experts, and is just as misguided as promoting students based on test scores. Additionally, APPR and its associated test-driven policies have depleted budgets needed to serve the real needs of students.
Change the Stakes (changethestakes.org) is a group of New York City parents and educators promoting alternatives to high stakes-testing.