Cuomo and Tests

While it’s not exactly an air of something rotten in the state, there is certainly an eau de confusion in the Empire State. I have long been a fan of our state’s history, especially when it comes to education and I suspect 2012-2015 will be the basis for a chapter or two in future books on the topic. You know, all those books, that are written on the history of education in NY. The many, many books.

This by Chalkbeat does a nice job summarizing where things stand now in terms of teacher evaluation. It remains, alas, until the guidance documents are released by SED, it’s a lot of speculation around the edges and on email listservs. 

In the meantime, Governor Cuomo is providing his commentary.

Cuomo, asked by a reporter why he decided to reverse his stance and delink the tests from the teacher evaluation, said that’s an incorrect characterization.

“I think if you read the report you’re going to find out that your two questions are not accurate,” Cuomo said. “There are teacher evaluations that are in the report and they are connected with tests.”

Here’s the thing that I will *not* stop shouting. I will stomp my foot, beat my breast, and sealion ALL over Twitter threads that claim the contrary.

There. Is. Nothing. In. APPR. That. Requires. Tests.* (in the traditional sense as we think of them or as, I suspect, Cuomo thinks of them.)

It’s possible to calculate growth scores without using a 0-100 numerical scale.
It’s possible to collect pre/post data using authentic, meaningful tasks.
It’s possible to capture evidence of student learning without a bubble sheet and #2 pencil.
It’s possible to leverage this mandate so that school is better for students, not worse.

It’s not only possible, it’s necessary. This is an unprecedented chance to do the really hard work of creating assessments that are done with, not to, students. It’s a chance to make another crack in the wall between curriculum and assessment. The hard part is that schools need to time to revise and strengthen assessments so they meet the APPR criteria so let’s hope they get it. Teachers need space to organize their thinking about target setting and they need tools to ensure their assessments are quality.

*For the “locally-designed” AKA SLO component.

(It can be done. It is being done. I’m happy to share. Feel free to tweet me at @JennLCI, check out a conference session I did on the topic, or drop me a line.)

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