Here’s more of what’s going on, from Monty Neill, executive director of the non-profit National Center for Fair & Open Testing, known as FairTest:
*Testing errors, such as the notorious “Pineapple story” in New York and the “I have a secret” writing prompt in New Jersey have further roiled the waters. “Pineapple” was just one of more than 20 mistakes on the New York exams. The impact was intensified because New York’s tests are now kept secret. Until recently the state made its questions and answers public after administering them. Under its new contact with test-maker Pearson, however, they are secret, as they are in most states. Teachers face severe sanctions for revealing scores, but students and their parents have been revealing the flaws.
*In New York, parents are organizing to boycott the June administration of a “try out” test. Students will answer experimental questions soPearson can select items for future tests, perhaps to be used in multiple states for more profits, as was “Pineapple.” The company already had included experimental questions on the May state tests.
Some parents opted their children out of the regular New York tests. In some cases, principals allowed the students to do schoolwork when exams were being administered, but in other schools principals threatened parents with truancy and child-endangerment laws. (Given that the tests have been known to increase fights in school, create emotional distress, and even induce vomiting, the real “child endangerment” is the testing.) Now, more and more parents, urban and suburban, are rising up to say, “Enough,” “No Mas.”...