Posts Tagged ‘testing’

University educators support CPS teachers refusing to test

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Apple 34UPDATE: Number of endorsers is up to 210


February 28, 2014




As university faculty whose responsibilities include preparing future educators, we support the action of teachers at the Saucedo and Drummond elementary schools in Chicago who are refusing to administer the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Over a decade of research shows that an over emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests narrows curriculum, creates social and emotional stress for students and families, drives committed teachers out of the profession, and turns schools into test-prep factories with principals forced to comply as overseers—especially in low-scoring schools. We understand assessment as the process of gathering evidence about learning, from multiple sources, so that teachers can better support student learning. The ISAT, in contrast, contributes virtually nothing. CPS no longer uses the ISAT for promotion, graduation, or eligibility for selective-enrollment schools and is phasing it out after this year. It is not aligned with Common Core State Standards—which, regardless of how one sees them, Illinois has already adopted—and does not help teachers improve student learning. The pre-service teachers with whom we work are demoralized about a future of teaching in such a test-driven atmosphere. We teach our students—future educators—to stand up for their students, families and communities, and to take principled stands for social justice. That’s what the Saucedo and Drummond teachers are doing. We applaud them and stand with them.

(To add your name to this list, email with your name, university affiliation, and department)


  1. Pauline Lipman, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  2. Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  3. Asif Wilson, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  4. Daniel Morales-Doyle, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  5. Eleni Katsarou, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  6. Arthi Rao, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  7. Joshua Radinsky, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  8. Irma Olmedo, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  9. David Schaafsma, University of Illinois at Chicago, English Department
  10. Kenneth Saltman, DePaul University, College of Education
  11. Joel Amidon, University of Mississippi, School of Education
  12. Nicole Marroquin, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Art Education
  13. Wayne Au University of Washington—Bothel, Education Program; Rethinking Schools
  14. Bill Schubert, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  15. Federico Waitoller, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  16. David Stovall, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  17. Danny Martin, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  18. Ann Aviles de Bradley, Northeastern Illinois University, Department of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies
  19. Eomailani Kukahiko, University of Hawai’i, College of Education
  20. David Stinson, Georgia State University, College of Education
  21. Minerva S. Chávez, California State University, Fullerton, Department of Secondary Education
  22. Katy Smith, Northeastern Illinois University, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies
  23. Gail Tang, University of La Verne, Department of Mathematics
  24. Craig Howley, Ohio University, Patton College of Education
  25. Rodrigo Jorge Gutiérrez, University of Maryland, College of Education
  26. Erin Turner, University of Arizona, Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies
  27. Tom Pedroni, Wayne State University, College of Education
  28. Donna Vukelich Selva, Edgewood College, School of Education
  29. Michelle Fine, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
  30. Maria McKenna, University of Notre Dame, Department of Africana Studies
  31. E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
  32. Noah De Lissovoy, The University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction
  33. Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, University of South Florida, Department of Secondary Education
  34. Bree Picower, Montclair State University, College of Education and Human Development
  35. Beatriz S. D’Ambrosio, Miami University, Dept. of Mathematics
  36. Celia Oyler, Teachers College, Dept. of Curriculum and Teaching
  37. Jesse Senechal, Virginia Commonwealth University, Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium
  38. Ira Shor, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
  39. Thomas G. Edwards, Wayne State University, College of Education
  40. Christine Sleeter, California State University—Monterey
  41. Jessica Shiller, Towson University, Dept. of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development
  42. Deb Palmer, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  43. Maren Aukerman, Stanford University, Graduate School of Education
  44. Christine Yeh, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  45. A. Lin Goodwin, Teachers College, Columbia University
  46. Stuart Chen-Hayes, Lehman College, School of Education
  47. Lee Bell, Barnard College, Program in Education
  48. Diane Horwitz, DePaul University, College of Education
  49. Gary Anderson, New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
  50. Patrick Camangian, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  51. Antonia Darder, Loyola Marymount University, School of Education
  52. Lesley Bartlett, Columbia University, Teachers College
  53. Sandy Grande, Connecticut College, Education Department
  54. Michelle Gautreaux, University of British Columbia, Dept. of Curriculum Studies
  55. Kathryn Herr, Montclair State University
  56. Emily Klein, Montclair State University
  57. Craig Willey, IUPUI, Indiana University School of Education
  58. Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Portland State University, Graduate School of Education
  59. Kiersten Greene, State University of New York at New Paltz, School of Education
  60. Stuart Greene, University of Notre Dame, Department of English and Africana Studies
  61. Horace R. Hall, DePaul University, College of Education
  62. Lois Weiner, New Jersey City University, Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
  63. Gustavo E. Fischman, Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
  64. Amy Feiker Hollenbeck, DePaul University, College of Education
  65. Rebecca A. Goldstein, Montclair State University, College of Education and Human Services
  66. Enora Brown, DePaul University, College of Education
  67. Sangeeta Kamat, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, College of Education
  68. Stephanie Farmer, Roosevelt University, Dept. of Sociology
  69. Ron Glass, University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California
  70. Karen Monkman, DePaul University, College of Education
  71. Lisa Edstrom, Barnard College, Barnard Education Program
  72. Daniel S. Friedrich, Columbia University, Teachers College
  73. Marjorie Siegel, Columbia University, Teachers College
  74. Alan Singer, Hofstra University, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
  75. Barbara Winslow, Brooklyn College, Secondary Education
  76. Maria Hantzopoulos, Vassar College, Dept. of Education
  77. Sharon Whitton, Hofstra University, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
  78. Jim Brown, Wayne State University, College of Education
  79. Linda McSpadden McNeil, Rice University, Center for Education
  80. Matthew Weinstein, University of Washington-Tacoma, Secondary Science Program
  81. Victoria Trinder, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  82. Marie Ann Donovan, DePaul University, College of Education
  83. Rosalyn Baxandall, City University of New York, Labor School
  84. Amira Proweller, DePaul University, College of Education
  85. Judith S. Kaufman, Hofstra University, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
  86. Gregory Smith, Lewis & Clark College, Graduate School of Education
  87. David Forbes, Brooklyn College, School of Education
  88. Lois Weis, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Graduate School of Education
  89. Monica Taylor, Montclair State University, College of Education and Human Services
  90. Norma Lopez-Reyna, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  91. Gloria Alter, DePaul University, College of Education
  92. Miguel Zavala, California State University, Fullerton, Department of Secondary Education
  93. Barbara Madeloni, University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Education
  94. Arnold Dodge, Long Island University/C.W.Post Campus, Department of Educational Leadership and Administration
  95. William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education (retired)
  96. Peter Taubman, Brooklyn College, Dept. of Secondary Education
  97. Susan Gregson, University of Cincinnati, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
  98. Jackie Wiggins, Oakland University, Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance
  99. Tema Okun, National Louis University, Dept. of Educational Leadership
  100. Bill Hoecker, DePaul University, College of Education
  101. Judith Gouwens, Roosevelt University, College of Education
  102. Carl B. Anderson, Penn State University, Dept. of English
  103. Mari Ann Roberts, Clayton State University, Dept. of Teacher Education
  104. Isabel Nuñez, Concordia University, Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice
  105. Renee A. Middleton, Ohio University, The Patton College of Education
  106. Regina Sievert, Salish Kootenai College, Division of Education
  107. Jennifer Alexander, Richard J. Daley College, Business Department
  108. Sunshine Campbell, The Evergreen State College
  109. Marvin Hoffman, University of Chicago, Urban Teacher Education Program
  110. Chris Brown, University of Texas at Austin, College of Education
  111. Nancy Lesko, Teachers College, Department of Curriculum and Teaching
  112. Florence R. Sullivan, University of Mass., Amherst, College of Education
  113. K. Wayne Yang, University of California, San Diego, Dept. of Ethnic Studies
  114. Elizabeth Meadows, Roosevelt University, College of Education
  115. Benay Blend, Central New Mexico Community College, Humanities Dept.
  116. Nekaiya Herring, University of North Dakota, Dept. of Social Work
  117. Karen Graves, Denison University, Department of Education
  118. Lilia Monzo, Chapman University, College of Educational Studies
  119. Karen Gourd, University of Washington, Bothell, Education Program
  120. Jeff Bloom, Northern Arizona University, College of Education
  121. Aisha El-Amin, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  122. Eric Toshalis, Lewis & Clark College, Graduate School of Education and Counseling
  123. Diane Levin, Wheelock College, Early Childhood Education
  124. Brian Horn, Illinois State University, College of Education
  125. Scott Ritchie, Kennesaw State University, Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education
  126. Ann K. Schulte, California State University, Chico, School of Education
  127. William T. Trent, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership
  128. Morna McDermott, Towson University, College of Education
  129. Susan Roberta Katz, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  130. Susan Wray, Montclair State University, Dept. of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education
  131. Sandra M. Gonzales, Wayne State University, College of Education
  132. Cindy Lutenbacher, Morehouse College, Dept. of English
  133. Mark Nagasawa, Erikson Institute
  134. Wendy Luttrell, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
  135. Mary Rapien, Bristol Community College, Division of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  136. Carolyne J. White, Rutgers University, Department of Urban Education
  137. Isaura B. Pulido, Northeastern Illinois University, College of Education
  138. Bill Watkins, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  139. Michelle Parker-Katz, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  140. Barbara Morgan-Fleming, Texas Tech University, Curriculum & Instruction
  141. Emma Haydée Fuentes, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  142. Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education
  143. Brian D. Schultz, Northeastern Illinois University, College of Education
  144. Sumi Cho, DePaul University, College of Law
  145. Therese Quinn, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Art and Art History
  146. John Rogers, UCLA, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
  147. Kathleen McInerney, Saint Xavier University, ESL/Bilingual Education Program
  148. Linda Christensen, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon Writing Project
  149. Elizabeth Skinner, Illinois State University, School of Teaching & Learning
  150. G. Sue Kasun, Utah State University, Teacher Education and Leadership
  151. Paul Gomberg, Chicago State University, Department of Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Political Science
  152. Andrea S. White,  Kenyon College, Psychology Department
  153. Sandra Yarema, Wayne State University, College of Education
  154. Michelle Maher, Oregon State University, Teacher and Counselor Education Dept.
  155. Todd Alan Price, National Louis University, College of Education
  156. Sarah Robbins,TCU, English Department
  157. Eve Tuck, State University of New York at New Paltz, School of Education
  158. John Duffy, National Louis University, Teacher Education (retired)
  159. Suzanne Baker, Denison University, Department of Education
  160. Anneli Frelin, University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies
  161. Mara Sapon-Shevin, Syracuse University, School of Education
  162. Ryan McCarthy, Wilbur Wright College, English Department
  163. Randi Ploszaj, Wilbur Wright College, English Department
  164. Bill Marsh, Wilbur Wright College, English Department
  165. Cydney Topping, Wilbur Wright College, English Department

If life is a test, the Trib flunks

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Today’s Chicago Tribune editorial claims their “philosophy” is that “Life is a test.”

Wow. That explains a lot about the Tribune, doesn’t it?

We have a different take on life, and so do a lot of others. For example:

  • Life is one grand sweet song, so start the music. Ronald Reagan
  • Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others. Helen Keller
  • Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. Charles Schultz
  • Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can at it. Danny Kaye
  • Hold fast to your dreams, for if dreams die, then life is like a broken winged bird that cannot fly. Langston Hughes
  • The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The purpose of life is to find out “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?” George Harrison

Besides, most of the Trib’s readers think standardized tests are “bogus.” If you haven’t voted in this Tribune poll yet, do it now!


Test officials getting testier about opting out

Friday, February 28th, 2014

iceISATEfforts by school testing folks to stop the opt out steamroller are getting desperate. Now they are threatening everything from teacher firings to school closure. It’s almost as if they are afraid that their test-based house of cards is about to collapse…

Here’s an e-mail sent to More Than a Score’s Julie Fain by Didi Schwartz, head of assessment at CPS, and our responses (written by Cassie Creswell and added in bold below).

From: “Swartz, Claudinette” <>
Date: February 27, 2014 at 11:46:13 AM CST
To: Julie Fain <>
Subject: ISAT opt out

Hi Julie,
I wanted to reach out on the opt out issue because I’m concerned that there are repercussions from the State that teachers and parents may not be aware of.  We’ve just sent something to principals and I want to make sure you guys are clear too.

What we’ve heard from ISBE is that because ISAT is required by both federal (NCLB) and state law (IL School Code), it’s possible that schools could lose federal funding with low testing percentages.  We’re still trying to nail down with ISBE exactly how this will be determined, but this is something that would be reviewed by the federal Dept. of Ed.

There is no evidence that the federal government will limit Title I funding due to testing opt outs. If ISBE or US Ed has evidence of this ever happening anywhere or under consideration, please have them produce it. We have reviewed the US Code and the CFR and found no references to automatic funding cuts for failure to make AYP.  Below 95% participation averaged over three years would trigger an AYP failure, but the district has not made AYP since at least 2005, and only 64 CPS schools made AYP last year.  If there were any cuts, they happened already.

In addition, there are possible repercussions for teachers from ISBE, again since this is a required test.  Depending on the circumstance, teacher actions could be reviewed by the State Certification Board with potential impact on their licensing.  There would of course also be CPS-specific consequences since test administration and a maintaining secure testing environment are considered basic job functions of CPS employees.

CTU is fully prepared to defend teachers who refuse to administer this test.  Teachers who have chosen not to administer the test understand that there may be repercussions for their jobs.  Please provide a citation for the impact of test boycotts on licensure.

Finally, the state has also indicated that this could trigger a review of school recognition status (i.e. accreditation).

If past failure to make AYP did not already trigger this, why would presently missing it, as nearly  all schools will do with 100% meets and exceeds required, trigger heretofore unknown sanctions. 

And as for the messaging around this, I think there are also a few things that need to be cleared up.

Time spent testing: I think it’s misleading to say that ISAT takes up 2 weeks of instructional time.  The total test time is 3 hours each for reading and math and 2 for science (4 an 7 only).  You can find this in the test manual here and here, on page 6.  There is a 2 week window to allow maximum flexibility in scheduling.  Students who are absent typically take make-up tests in the 2nd week, but this doesn’t disrupt instruction of other students as it is done in another setting.  The 6 or 8 hours on the test is less than 1% of a student’s time spent in school.

Disruption is far more than the 6-8 hours of testing. Even students not in 3-8th grade have disrupted schedules during the testing window; most specials are cancelled etc.  At least one school is being dismissed early (before 12) for the three days of testing.  Special ed students can take many more than 6-8 hours to test, and their teachers are lost to administering the test for weeks.  This doesn’t even begin to cover the hours and dollars devoted to ISAT prep time.

CPS does not pay for ISAT.  I saw a flyer that quoted us as spending 3.5 million on it.  I have no idea where this came from…this is a state exam.

This claim is not coming from us; nonetheless, the ISAT will cost the state $18M; $3.5M of that is for the test within CPS.

Although it isn’t used for accountability or promotion/selective enrollment, it isn’t a complete waste of time.  It is the only measure we have this year aligned to the full depth and breadth of the Common Core and the only uniform measure across the state.  While NWEA is aligned to the CCSS in terms of strand alignment, text and item complexity, it is of course only available in multiple choice.  ISAT also includes extended response items aligned to the CCSS.

 The ISAT will still be primarily multiple choice; the number of extended responses items is the same as prior years. The PARCC blueprints and test specifications call for more complex multiple choice  and more extended response items.  The newly required CCQB performances tasks are giving students plenty of practice in ELA and math in a non-multiple choice format. Furthermore, the equating procedures for last year’s ISAT to this year’s ISAT are unclear. If the CC switch is meaningful, the underlying construct of the test has changed; you cannot compare last year’s scores to this year’s without heavy equating. At best, reading will have 10 anchoring items. Math is less clear but will have to  be worse.  

Because Illinois requires ISAT, schools are expected to present all students with the test.  Students can refuse to test, but must remain quiet and not disrupt testing for other students.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent a letter to parents stating that they have the right to opt their children out of all tests.  We are instructing parents to tell schools they are refusing on behalf of their legally minor children and that the school should code their student as having refused the test.  It is unethical to pressure children, some as young as eight years old, to participate in activities against their parent/guardian’s wishes.

I definitely understand the frustration with time spent on assessment generally and unhealthy testing practices (bubble kids strategy, narrowly focusing on certain skills…etc).  Believe me, we are working to change this.  We have sent out messages and talked with principals and Chiefs about what it means to prepare students to do well on assessments that are aligned to the Common Core.  While you guys may be hearing about the bad practices, there are also plenty of principals and teachers that are getting the message about how high quality daily tasks that truly ask kids to think, write, defend their choices…etc are the key.

Most of us are not just hearing about bad practices; our children and, in some cases, students are in Chicago Public Schools experiencing the effects of the CPS testing policy every day.

This is a process that will certainly take time, but we’re committed to it.

We encourage you to continue to work to change the fundamental values in this district that continue to prioritize test scores above education and children.

At the same time, I hope that MTAS and the other groups you guys work with can deliver a message that fully informs parents of the facts about ISAT (and other tests) and any potential repercussions.

We encourage CPS administration to do the same.

As you know, I’m always more than willing to talk to you guys and help clear things up.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Didi Swartz
Director of Assessment | Office of Accountability
Chicago Public Schools

PSAT for 2-4-14: Sign our petition to scrap the ISAT!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

psat_logoMore Than a Score’s petition to scrap the ISAT has been up only a couple of days and already has over 750 signatures. Let’s hit the 1000 mark today!

And don’t forget the ISAT forum this Thursday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 at Haas Park. Speakers will include Cassie Creswell from More Than a Score, Greg Michie, CPS teacher and author, a student member of VOYCE, and CPS teacher Monique Redeaux-Smith. We’ll have opt out and other resources to share, including MTAS’s alternative proposal for replacing high-stakes testing with common-sense use of report cards. Here’s a flyer to download.

Here’s what the petition says:

We parents, students, and educators are concerned that the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) will be administered again this March.  The ISAT is not used in Chicago for student promotion, or for school performance, or for selective enrollment admission, nor is it used for teacher evaluation purposes.

By forcing our children to undergo this meaningless test, they will lose hours of valuable classroom instruction time, disrupting as many as ten school days.  CPS plans to force this test on students again at the same time that they are also required to take NWEA MAP tests, new Interim Benchmark Tests, REACH Performance Tasks, ACCESS tests, NAEP tests, pilot Common Core tests and more.

Over-testing of students has come with real costs to their education. Students need fewer tests and more access to arts, language and a broad, rich curriculum. Students need meaningful and educationally appropriate assessments, not more standardized tests.  We call on Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois State Board of Education not to give the ISAT test this year.

CPS and the State of Illinois plan to phase out ISAT and introduce a new test next year. CPS has no purpose for administering the ISAT beyond meeting a mandate to administer it. The State and Chicago Boards of Education should move to waive this wasteful test. All parents and students should be explicitly informed of their right to refuse standardized testing.  Students and families who choose to exercise the right to opt out should be treated fairly and respectfully.

For more information visit

NYC Council passes anti-testing resolution

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

pizzaNot convinced about the pizza, but check this out:

Press Contact: Jane Hirschmann, 917 679 8343


The New York City Council passed today Resolution 1394.  This is historic because it is the first time that a legislative body has sent a clear directive to the DOE, NYSED and Governor that high stakes standardized tests must be replaced by multiple measures.  As heard in testimony endorsing the Resolution, “Learning is complex, assessment should be too. A one-size fits all approach to learning and testing fails children, teachers and families.  And, as we have seen, the so-called testing reform approach used by Bloomberg/Klein for the last 12 years resulted in many negative unintended consequences and failed to deliver quality education.

Resolution 1394 was modeled on a national piece of legislation that has been endorsed by many Boards of Education across the country, and more than 500 organizations. In Texas alone more than 80% of the school boards endorsed a similar position. “The New York City resolution is an important step in the growing, grassroots-powered national movement seeking to replace testing overkill with better, educationally sound forms of assessment. Across the U.S. parents, students, teachers, community leaders and, increasingly, local elected officials, are saying ‘Enough is enough!’ to politically mandated standardized exam misuse and overuse, said Robert Schaeffer, Public Education Director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest)

“Our New York City electeds have taken the lead by passing Resolution 1394, ” said Evelyn Cruz of Time Out >From Testing. “The City Council is sending a loud and clear message that we have had enough of this testing mania which drives curriculum. When these tests have such high stakes attached to them —graduation, promotion, school grade, teacher evaluations, school closings and even principal bonuses—there is no question that teachers will teach to the test. This is not a 21st Century education. We want more for our children.”

“All of us think our children should be challenged by difficult tasks in school and that the performance of teachers in the classroom should be judged by the highest standards, but there is no scientific validity whatsoever to the use of high stakes tests as the primary instrument for evaluating children and teachers. We cannot kid ourselves that just because high-stakes testing has become predominant in our schools, it is moral or even rational,” said Jeff Nichols of Change the Stakes.

” This action by the City Council is of central importance to all those who care about public education. Since NYC has been seen as the leader of the so called “reform” movement, the fact that our City Council took action will be regarded nationally as a critical moment—turning around a 12 year failed experiment, said Dani Gonzalez, Co-chair of Time Out From Testing.

PSAT for 12-10-13: Send us your test schedules

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

psat_logoMore Than a Score is meeting with CPS testing officials later this week. Among the items on our agenda is a discussion of the actual number of tests given in CPS schools this year. You may remember that CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced at the end of last year that the district was cutting back “15 of the 25″ district mandated standardized tests.

From what we’re hearing, though, the reality is not matching up with the claims.

For one thing, CPS has added a number of new tests – e.g. benchmark tests associated with the Common Core and additional REACH teacher evaluation tests.

This excellent post by More Than a Score’s Cassie Cresswell also points out that the cutbacks in many primary tests never happened. She writes,

Second graders will actually take more exams at many schools this year, rather than fewer. In addition to the K-2 literacy and numeracy assessments, the NWEA MAP test will be given to 2nd graders in the spring, and possibly in the winter. And so, many second graders will be taking literacy/English Language Arts (ELA) exams 13 times this year, along with 10 numeracy/math exams, and an undetermined number of REACH exams in other subjects (art, music, etc.).

Here’s an example of a school testing schedule showing a full page of tests for each quarter.

We are collecting school testing schedules in order to find out what is really happening, and to help us plan our work in the coming months. Teachers, parents and students, if you have a version of your school’s testing schedule that you can e-mail (electronic, scan, etc.) please send it to Otherwise, you can mail it to PURE c/o Siegel and Associates, 11 E Adams Street, Suite 1401, Chicago IL 60603.


120 children’s book authors, illustrators tell President there’s too much testing

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

BlumePress release from FairTest

for further information:

Dr. Monty Neill (617) 477-9792
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773

for immediate release –Tuesday, October 22, 2013




More than 120 leading authors and illustrators of books for children, including several national award winners, are calling on President Obama to “change the way we assess learning so that schools nurture creativity, exploration, and a love of literature.”

Their letter delivered to the White House today stated, “Our public schools spend far too much time preparing for reading tests and too little time curling up with books that fire their imaginations.”

“All children must have the freedom to grow, to evolve, to develop,” explained acclaimed poet Maya Angelou, who spoke at President Obama’s inauguration. “We parents, authors, illustrators are standing up for our children. We desperately need you and your administration to stand with us.” The authors’ and illustrators’ letter continued, “We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your administration’s own initiatives, on children’s love of reading and literature. Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes. On the contrary, requirements to evaluate teachers on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.”

Signers of a “Public Letter on Standardized Testing from Authors and Illustrators of Books for Children and Youth” include such other notables as Alma Flor Ada, Judy Blume, Jules Feiffer, and Donald Crews, as well as National Book Award winners Kathryn Erskine and Phillip Hoose.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) coordinated signature gathering for the letter. The assessment reform organization’s executive director, Dr. Monty Neill, explained, “The authors and illustrators recognize the damage done to young children by testing overkill. The new Common Core assessments will not reverse the damage. In fact, they will mandate more standardized exams in more grades. It is time for an indefinite moratorium on high-stakes exams.”

The letter to President Obama with a complete signers’ list of children’s authors and illustrators is online at:

- A fact sheet on Common Core assessments is at:

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.