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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE NYS ASSESSMENT REFUSAL RATES ON LONG ISLAND

“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 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. 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. 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 language 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 8am (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 about 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 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 1pm 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
“I administered the grade 6 1:1 to a SpEd student. 90 minutes in, he had answered 3 questions and was stressed because “I can’t find any text evidence”. Test questions were vague and had almost NOTHING to do with the content of the passages and were simply focused on text structure and main ideas. I have a degree in English literature and I found the questions irrelevant, vague, and not really related to the content or message of the passages. The passages themselves were, as usual, excerpts taken out of context and above the comprehension of an average 6th grader, and dealt with issues and situations that most 11 year old in the US would be unfamiliar with.”
Anonymous Teacher
and… Day2 of CBT math testing.
“Known Issue: Grade 3 Math, Session 2, #36, Students Cannot Enter Some Punctuation Marks in the Answer Box
Today at 10:18
Please note that schools have reported and Questar has confirmed that for Grade 3 Math, Session 2, Question #36, students cannot enter some punctuation marks into the Answer Box. Please advise your students of the following:
Students may enter their response into the Answer Box without punctuation marks
NYSED will advise all NYS scoring consortia of this issue related to Grade 3 Math, #36
Students will not lose credit due to any technical issue related to input of punctuation marks within this Answer Box
There is no issue with entering punctuation marks into the Equation Editor Constructed Response Box/”Show your work” area in this item
We apologize for this inconvenience.
NYSED will keep you posted of any updates to this issue via this article page as well as directly through the CBT Math Listserv.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Grade 5 Day 1: on average most kids finished the passages and 35 questions in about 2 hours. We had the the remaining kids (about 10% of the grade) finish in the third hour.
Readability was difficult.
Day 2: After 2 hours of testing almost all of our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders were still working. On each grade level only about 1/2 of each class finished in a 3 hour time frame. There was a break for lunch and kids then worked for an additional hour. Most finished during that additional hour. We had about 15 kids in 5th grade who did not finish the test. We also had 4th graders not finish. I believe all 3rd grades finished.
However—-the grade 4 test was quite challenging as was the grade 5 test. Grade 5 teachers said the questions were ridiculously hard.”
Anonymous Teacher
“My middle school kids couldn’t leave to get lunch, it was brought to them! Had kids working from 815 to about 130. Crazy.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Our school day is until 2:20. Had some kids working until almost 3:00. They did take their 50 minutes for lunch but really?!? I felt terrible for them. I collected tests at the end of the day but others continued on. So crazy.”
Anonymous Teacher
“We had kids, 3rd grade, that stayed for After school and took the test until 4. They started at 8:45. Our kids took a break to have lunch.”
Anonymous Teacher
“The ENTIRE K-6 school had indoor recess yesterday (60 degrees outside) because it would have disrupted the test takers if the kids went outside to play. Some kids have recess at 12:30! Some at 12:50! No one was allowed to play outside on a gorgeous day because of the test.”
Anonymous Teacher
“Many of my students did not finish the essay even after missing classes – they were told it’s over – you have no more time at 250”
Anonymous Teacher
One of my 7th-grade students cried today. He finished at 3:30”
Anonymous Teacher
“A 6th grader spent 4 hours testing on day 1 and then almost 7 hours on day 2. He was given 20 min for lunch. No recess. When he returned, he was noticeably upset but got right back to work. At 2:50 we had to pull the test from his hands (he started at 8:30). You could see the look of defeat and worry across his face.
Flash forward to this morning, we received a call from his mom that he won’t be in school today because they had to take him to the hospital. Turns out he was too sick and worried to eat or drink anything all day. (Teachers weren’t aware since we just sent him to lunch on his own with the other students who were testing.) He basically collapsed at home. They stayed in the hospital until 2:30am where they hydrated him and monitored until he was stable. (Hence the absence from school today!)”
Anonymous Teacher
“As I sit grading the 7th grade ELA exam today the words that just hit me were “these kids have been really well trained” Nothing about this test reflects what students have been taught to do. The only way to do well is to abandon good sound educational practices and learn to take a test.”
Anonymous Teacher