Testing Testimonials

How schools and districts try to get parents to opt-in for the state tests

The following are true accounts by teachers of student experiences taking the NYS Grades 3-8 Assessments.  

These stories are heartbreaking and reveal testing conditions and experiences that are borderline abusive.  They might move you to tears or get you angry; we hope so.  We want you to take notice and ideally, take action. We need to come together and let our state education officials know that as parents, we demand better for our children.  

Now that we have your attention, how can you get involved?  Easy.  

See our Get Involved“ page for ideas or simply go to our Facebook page and ask.


The following testimonials are true accounts from “anonymous teachers”

I administered the ELA to two sixth graders today who didn’t opt-out and they are in special Ed. I can’t believe we are still administering these exams. We teach them that they need to activate prior knowledge before they read – well this test is not doing that. This is ridiculous for all students (even adults). We don’t learn this way. We don’t express our knowledge this way. 
4th-grade words in stories:
Cichlids, relieve, plié, pas de chat, fascinating
Names: Tellulah, Beckett
Third-grade test stories were ok but my kids all reported questions were too hard or worded differently and that answer choices were way too hard and confusing. Most took over two hours to take it today with many going well into the afternoon. The level of inferencing is unfair. Not much of a reading test – rather you must really be great at inferencing and test-taking at this level. Questions and answer choices are
Way above grade level. The third story was different for everyone and instead of two pages it was three long pages. Kids are set up to fail. My students were well prepared based on my lessons this year- and still can’t pass. By the 4th story- most stop using their strategies and start circling anything. Sad to watch them take it.
Part two- horrible- worse than ever. Questions are awful and way above grade level. Boring- really trying to test third graders on a middle school level.
Proctored the day 1 4th grade ELA exam today to students with IEP’s at a Queens DOE school where parents are told there is no opting out. They read 4 stories and had to answer 24 multiple-choice questions. One of the stories was about ballet and actually had French ballet terms. Some kids are significantly below grade level in reading English, let alone French. 
I thought the third grade part one test was very fair.  Seriously, it seemed like prior to common core standards and pretty normal. Part two I didn’t like at all. I can’t stand all of these questions where they have to refer back to multiple paragraphs. In a book club or a class, you don’t do that. You may talk about the main ideas and such, but flipping back and forth between the questions and the story is hard for many young children, especially those with motor planning issues. Also, as a third-grade teacher, most importantly I want to know if a child understands the story.  These in-depth inferencing questions are just not appropriate for most.
I’ve never seen as many meltdowns and tears as today. Some kids worked for 5 hours, some tried their best but skipped many questions. It was absolutely disgusting what the state did to these kids. 
Kids are struggling. Saying out loud- why did my parents make me take this. This is too hard- I don’t know what to write. My students were well prepared but each new story has different levels of vocabulary and inferencing ability. The questions are so vague kids aren’t sure what they are asking and they make them flip back for every answer. Not testing basic reading skills but science and inferencing.
I am an ELA teacher in a title I NYC public middle school with a high immigrant population. My school holds the students in the same room all day on testing days, 8:35am-2:55pm. They go get their lunch and come back to the classroom, so maybe they are out of the room for 20-30 mins. 
It was a horror show on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday, the kids took from 9:30-1:30 to complete the five reading passages and short responses. Wednesday was worse. Some students worked all day until pm homeroom. There is a lot of confusion and parents are poorly informed. Many were fully remote last year and are many grade levels below. Some kids just guessed or scribbled. I am concerned that my students will be penalized at some point for their low scores. 
Day 2 is done….for most kids. 4 hours later, we still have kids testing. It was disgusting. In my group, all have IEPs. I had one cry, one vomit, and 2 shut down. The test consisted of 3 short stories, 6 short answers, and an essay. The first story was ridiculously hard and included countries I have never even heard of. The second two weren’t bad. Two fables. The length is ridiculous. Never once throughout the year is a 9-year old expected to write 7-10 paragraphs in one day.
I have been a public school teacher for over 20 years. Today’s test on the elementary level was brutal. We had children crying, going to the nurse, and completely shutting down. Many children do not have the stamina to take tests like these. Please consider opting out of all future non-necessary assessments.
I teach fourth grade. The first day was not too bad. My opt out students stayed in the room and read. I had them load up with 5 books each, most being non fiction picture books about science, which they love. I was amazed by their stamina. The second day was AWFUL. THE TEST FAR TOO LONG WITH QUESTIONS SPANNING 3 PAGES AFTER THE STORY. MANY STUDENTS WERE WONDERING WHICH STORY THE THIRD QUESTION WENT WITH. THE QUESTIONS WERE TOO DIFFICULT FOR 4th GRADE STUDENTS, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO HAD HAD A FRAGMENTED, IMPOSSIBLE (in many cases traumatic) PREVIOUS YEAR AND A HALF OF SCHOOL. EVEN MY OPT-OUT STUDENTS FELL APART ON DAY 2. TOO MUCH!
I’m a 4th-grade teacher. Day one-2 1/2 hours. Day two- 3 hours. How is this developmentally appropriate for 4th graders to sit that long? Day one 4 reading passages with 24 multiple-choice questions. Day two 3 passages with 6 constructed responses and a paired passage essay. They didn’t have the stamina. Again- we never mimic this in the classroom. How is this going to show how well of a student they are?


Our school day ends at 3:15 and we just had to stop kids who were STILL WORKING
Our school is over at 2:50 and some of the 5th graders worked until that time. I don’t get it!  After two years of COVID, the kids did not have the stamina.
9 to 12 some till 2 for 6 to 8th graders.
I left at 3. Kids were still testing. Our school day ends at 3. Smh. Parents were waiting for kids at dismissal. 3-5 test was too much.
I proctored 2-3rd grade kids. We started at 9:15, they started testing around 9:25. One finished around 11:45, the other around 12:10.
The majority of my fourth graders took 3 hours. 6 of them were Pulled to finish in a separate location and took 4 hours. It was way too long for any 3-5th grader!!! 6-8 in our school had to postpone the lunch period because everyone was still working. It was ludicrous! Confirmed for me again why my kids don’t take it .. it only assesses their frustration point.
The majority of my kids took 4 hours- some more.
We had about 25 + students still testing after lunch.
My 7th-grade students took all day and about 10 didn’t finish.
I had kids, in 6th grade, well into their 4th hour.
I proctored grade 6. The test started before 9 and I had 4 students still testing at 1:50 pm.
8th grade- all day- 9:30am-2:30pm. Most of them are language learners. Pure child abuse.
All-day. 3rd grade.
Our 5th and 6th graders tested for most of the day.  They did break for lunch because the expectation was that the test would be over well before lunch so the school had to scramble to continue testing conditions after lunch.  They started at a little before 8 and other than 40 min lunch, many tested until almost 2.
Most of my 5th graders worked until 2:35 this afternoon. We broke for prep for 40 min and lunch for 1 hour. Horrible. Way too much writing in one day.
5th grade…I had students test until 2:45 pm with a 40 min break for lunch. It was awful.
I proctored the 6th-grade test. We began at 8:30 am and half my students were done by 12:00 pm. Insane. I opted my own kids out
I’m still sitting here in a silent room waiting for students to finish (12:30 pm). We started at 9. I’m ready to rip my hair out. Day 1 wasn’t bad but today, the writing, horrific. There was a question I didn’t even know how to answer. 3rd grade. Frankly, this feels like child abuse.
Teacher here. We started at 9:15. It’s now 2:00 and children are still testing. Ridiculous.
“Had an 8th grader sit until 1:00 today on the math. 33 multiple-choice questions. Can’t imagine how long it will take tomorrow….”
Anonymous Teacher
“I proctored sixth grade and my student cried because he ‘just didn’t get it’ I was heartbroken”
Anonymous Teacher
“9:03 am our first Special Education student is crying… great job NYS…..”
Anonymous Teacher
“Known Issue: Some Alternate Languages Not Working for Students Testing in CBT Math
Tuesday at 10:01
Some students who have alternate languages set for CBT math (such as Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish) will not receive this accommodation when logging into the test session. This is true for students who had Text-to-Speech (TTS) or Read Aloud accommodations set for the CBT ELA administration…”
Anonymous Teacher
“My 6th graders had at least 3 different passages for questions 22-28. I saw 3 different ones, but there was another passage I couldn’t see the question numbers. So clearly these kids are at various levels of disadvantage because they’re reading different passages and likely with different questions.
The questions for passage one were pretty straightforward, but kids struggled. There was one idiom question that no one in the class got right.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Scoring the assessments … one student’s plea …”if it’s too short deal with it. I’m dying here.”
We weren’t sure if we should laugh or cry.”
Anonymous Teacher
Erie County: “Testing was delayed due to computer log-on issues, causing students to start their testing late and requiring some students to return after lunch to finish.”
Anonymous Teacher
“State halted the test due to technical difficulty. I couldn’t get half of my students logged on. Most classes in the building had the same issues. Now they will be given Wed and Thurs. Half-day wasted!!!”
Anonymous Teacher
“4th grade had 4 stories, 24 questions. 3 of the stories were the same on all forms of the test and the 4th story was different in each book. I counted at least 4 different stories, maybe 5. I really hope those were the field test questions otherwise the test was incredibly unfair as there is no guarantee that the level of the stories or the level of the questions were the same in each story.”
Anonymous Teacher
“We have kids that have been taking this test since 8:30 …it’s 11:30 and they didn’t even get to essay. They are missing lunch periods. It’s chaos. And the kids not taking it have to sit in a room for all these hours not making a sound.”
Anonymous Teacher
4th-grade day 2 is awful!! Questions about theme that doesn’t make sense. The extended response question asks them to compare how the parents are mentioned in each story. 6 teachers with master’s degrees are having difficulty figuring out the answer! I wish more NYC parents opted their kids out. Too much misinformation about how scores impact kids. So glad my son will NEVER take these tests! Proud NYC opt-out parent!”
Anonymous Parent
“Omg. Tested grade 4 today. What the hell are they thinking? The state put 3 days into two with ambiguous questions that an average fourth grader couldn’t answer. Omg.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Grade 6 was atrocious today. The second excerpt was from “Under the Persimmon Tree”, which according to Scholastic is for grades 9-12 and is a reading level Y. It was set in Afghanistan, and the character names and some other words were foreign languages for all of our students. It was extremely difficult to keep track of who all of the characters were. The last excerpt was an Eskimo story, again with many foreign words. The students were asked to compare the adult characters from both stories in the extended response, but many could not decipher who the adults were in the story. Kids were working until dismissal from the beginning of the day, their only break being for lunch. So unbelievably unfair!!”
Anonymous Teacher
“Grade 6 – The kids really struggled. One student had to leave the classroom because she felt like she was going to throw up.
One word to describe the majority: EXASPERATED.
It was clear that students didn’t understand the questions. Most students were still testing 2 1/2 hours after the test began.
More than 25% of the class needed more time. They were moved to another room to finish. The day began at 7:40.
My 6th-grade students who still needed to test were able to grab their lunch (less than 15 minutes) at 12:45…5 hours and 5 minutes after the school day began IF they finished the test. I don’t know what happened to the kids who tested until 2 pm.
About 50 kids didn’t finish by 2pm.. The day ends at 2.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Fifth-grade students (including English language learners) were denied phys ed today to complete the ELA. Students who didn’t finish in the morning were supposed to return to their testing room in the afternoon. Those who were done got to attend phys ed. We started the test at 9:30 and the last student finished at 3:05. Since this is an “untimed test” the students can literally take all day to finish. These are students who are productively working, trying their hardest. It is very sad to watch. Some complained of stomach aches or put their heads down to rest a bit. These students are 10 years old.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Took kids up to 3 hours to complete the written questions. This was across multiple grade levels.”
Anonymous Teacher
“We had about 10 7th and 8th graders still working on the test today during 8th and 9th period. They started at 8 am (first period). I heard they were allowed to eat lunch at some point but I didn’t hear anything about accommodations or where they ate.”
Anonymous Teacher
“My last student had the test taken from him at 3:15. He didn’t finish!! 3rd grade!”
Anonymous Teacher
“Many 4th grade booklets (day 2) started to fall apart during testing in multiple schools in my district. And – not just cover pages becoming loose, but multiple pages started to become unattached. Kids were confused bc it is very difficult to flip back and forth looking for evidence, etc. in testing booklets that are falling apart. By the end of the exam, I’d estimate that we had to staple close to half of the booklets back together at my school.
In addition to everything that is wrong with the content of the exams and test administration practices, it seems that Questar cannot even get the mechanics of test construction right either, whether it’s the CBT version or the paper version of the exam.
It clearly was not an isolated issue with a single test pack at my school, as 3/4 elementary schools in my rather large district experienced this to varying extents.”
Anonymous Teacher
“So today something told me to buy some snacks n sugar. ???This part two ELA state test.. I had my students with 3 stretching breaks and I fed them snacks and I made them run in place. It was excessive reading 6 -7 short responses and an extended response. Too much for the noggin in one sitting. I lost more than half of the time from my lunch (mind you I have 1 pm lunch) and no prep. Kids were still productively working at dismissal. I left 25 minutes after my dismissal and was feeling overwhelmed with the chaotic crazy day. Kids crying and going through panic attacks. Poor babies. My heart broke for them but I did the best I could!!”
Anonymous Teacher