Tag Archives: field tests

Field testing – just say “No!”

Stand-alone field test time is here.

Each year students are asked to take a test and ‘try out’ questions so that the producers of the state tests can determine if the questions are ‘good questions’ or not.  Our students do not get paid for participating in these tests.  The results do not affect their grades in any way nor do they inform classroom instruction.  It just assists the test manufacturers along the road to more profit in the creation of next year’s state tests.

Only some schools and some grades within each school are asked by the New York State Education Department to participate in the field tests each year.  The field tests are to be administered between June 1-10, 2015 but the specific date is up to the school.  If a student is absent on the day of the field test, they do not have to make up the field test.  The field tests are NOT mandatory for the school district and in fact some school districts are refusing to participate in the field testing at all this year.

Southampton Field Testing Resolution

Deception associated with the field tests is also being reported.  A memo from NYSED has been reported to encourage teachers to lie about the purpose of the upcoming field tests.

A memo has recently surfaced in which the New York State Department of Education appears to encourage educators to mislead students about upcoming standardized field tests meant to “provide the data necessary to ensure the validity and reliability of the New York State Testing program.”

“Students should not be informed of the connection between these field tests and State assessments,” the memo reads. “The field tests should be described as brief tests of achievement in the subject.”  – Huffington Post May 28, 2015

Also a parent I know in Wappingers Falls reported that her child was already given the field test.   The field test administration is not supposed to begin until June 1 so she had not yet sent in her test REFUSAL letter and was very upset that the school administered the test early.

Parents may send in a letter of REFUSAL for the field tests as they did for the New York State tests back in April.   A sample field test REFUSAL letter is included in this post if you did not include field tests in your state test refusal for the state tests in April.  Even if you did include refusal of field testing previously, I recommend sending a reminder letter if your child’s school/grade is scheduled to participate in field testing.

Students in the Kingston City School District will be asked to take field tests as follows:

  • Chambers (620600010011) – grade 3 ELA
  • Crosby (620600010015) – grade 3 ELA and grade 4 ELA
  • Myer (620600010013) – grade 3 Math and grade 4 Math
  • George Washington (620600010012) – grade 4 ELA
  • Edson (620600010024) – grade 3 Math
  • JFK (620600010014) – grade 3 ELA and grade 4 ELA
  • Graves (620600010017) – grade 3 ELA
  • Bailey (620600010020) – grade 7 ELA and grade 8 ELA
  • Miller (620600010025) – grade 6 ELA and grade 7 ELA
  • KHS (620600010022) – Geometry, PS/Earth Science and Algebra 2/Trigonometry

Full schedules available here

Here is the field testing that KCSD students were asked to do last year.

Will the Board of Regents Mandate Stand-Alone Field Tests?

As today draws to a close, so does the comment period regarding the NYS Board of Regents’ plan to change regulations to mandate stand-alone field tests that have historically been voluntary.

Many concerned stake-holders contacted the Board of Regents expressing opposition to mandatory field testing when this plan was first discussed back in November (read here) and yet the Board of Regents carried on.

NYSAPE coordinated an action alert to help stake-holders submit comments during the comment period.  Hopefully you were able to submit your comments via the action alert or via a personalized e-mail to the Commissioner of Education, Deputy Commissioner, Board of Regents, Governor, your Assemblymember/Senator and the NYSED public comment e-mail NYSEDP12@nysed.gov

Some superintendents, such as Superintendent Thomas J. Douglas from Bethlehem Central School District, encouraged members of their school districts to contact the Board of Regents asking them to oppose mandatory field testing (read here).

The New York State School Boards Association even submitted a letter expressing opposition to mandating the field tests.

Although NYSSBA has long advocated for the State to fully fund the state assessment program, it opposes stand-alone field tests based on concerns expressed by its members and the parents of the children they serve. Stand-alone field tests increase the amount of time spent on standardized tests in the classroom which negatively affects the ability of educators and local policy makers to ensure appropriate time is spent on classroom instruction.

Now we have to see what the Board of Regents does at their meeting on February 9 and 10, 2015.  Will they listen to the people of New York State or will they decide that they ‘know best’ and move forward to make field testing mandatory?

Peppermint Patty multiple choice


From NYSAPE’s Action Alert:

Field tests are experimental questions that Pearson, NYS’s contracted educational testing company, uses to “test” new questions to be used for future tests. NYS standardized tests currently have approximately 25% field test questions already embedded in the NINE hours of testing each year for grades three through eight.

Astoundingly, the NYS Education Department (NYSED) previously admitted stand-alone field tests are “statistically unreliable”.

Our children are not SED test subjects or Pearson guinea pigs!

Making Field Testing Mandatory?

The New York State Board of Regents on Monday discussed a proposal to make field tests – the tests that “test out” questions for future standardized testing – mandatory for school districts. The New York State Education Department has said the practice tests are already required*, but some school superintendents disagree. At least eight school districts in the Lower Hudson Valley said no thanks to field tests this past school year – and so far have faced no sanctions (details here).

Many concerned parents contacted the Board of Regents on Monday expressing opposition to changing regulations to make the field tests mandatory but the Board of Regents ignored all of the input and is moving forward with the proposal.  A comment period will begin on December 3 and end on January 20, 2015 and the Regents will be voting on the proposed change to make field testing mandatory at the February meeting (February 9 and 10, 2015).

Diane Ravitch has captured perfectly my thoughts regarding the decision of the New York State Board of Regents to make field testing ‘mandatory’.

The Regents and Commissioner John King think they are in public office to compel the public to do what they want. They don’t understand that they are “public servants,” which means obviously they are supposed to serve the public. When thousands of parents rise up as one to say that their children are over tested and their schools have been turned into test-prep centers, the Regents should listen. They haven’t. They have added fuel to parent anger. It is not going away just because the Regents have passed a motion. The children belong to their parents, not to the state.

– Diane Ravitch New York Regents Encourage Opt Out Movement By Ignoring Parent Objections to PARCC Field Testing November 18, 2014

If you are concerned about testing, please submit comments during the comment period.

“Opportunity for submission of data, views or arguments: Comments regarding the proposed amendment may be submitted to: Ken Wagner, Deputy Commissioner, State Education Department, Office of Curriculum, Assessment and Educational Technology, EBA Room 875, 89 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12234 (e-mail: NYSEDP12@nysed.gov). Comments must be received by the State Education Department on or before January 20, 2015.”

Also be in regular contact with your Regent member regarding your opposition to making field testing mandatory.  Regent Josephine Finn represents Ulster County on the Board of Regents.  Her contact information is RegentFinn@mail.nysed.gov or (518) 474-5889.

When you submit comments to Mr. Wagner, don’t forget to cc Regents, cc and contact your legislators and get your BOEs involved in issuing objections.  Contact information for all of the Regents and legislators is available here on Jolyn’s Education Corner.

Peppermint Patty multiple choice

* Below is information from United to Counter the Core explaining some background information on the field testing debate.

Nysed tried to deceive parents and administrators and forced students to take abusive field tests for years by claiming field tests were mandatory. They led parents and districts to wrongly believe that they were required, but that claim was debunked and found to be untrue by advocates who pushed back last year.http://schoolsofthoughtny.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/attention-field-tests-not-mandated-by-nyseds-own-admission/

Parents and schools refused field tests last year in record numbers! NYSUT supported districts that refused. http://dianeravitch.net/2014/05/30/nysut-supports-districts-that-opt-put-of-state-field-tests/

NYSED is not happy about this.  So, now they plan to force schools to give the abusive field tests by bypassing parent/district control and free will by changing the law!http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2014/November2014/1114p12d2.pdf
So much for reduced testing in NYS!


Call NOW to oppose Mandatory Field Testing!

The New York State Board of Regents is discussing right now (today – November 17) making field testing of the questions that Pearson is writing for future state tests mandatory.  Field testing has not previously been mandatory although the state has implied that it was.

Please call the NYS Board of Regents right now and tell them you OPPOSE MANDATORY field testing.  You may be asked to provide your school district.  If you live in Kingston and are asked to provide your Board of Regent’s name, it is Josephine Finn.  The phone number for the Board of Regents is (518) 474-5889.

Field testing is checking out questions to see if they are ‘suitable’ for future tests.  It is using our children as guinea pigs.  If they were adults, they would have to give consent and would get paid for this sort of thing.  There are many issues regarding the field testing and you can read more starting at this post.

New York State Standardized Tests wrap-up and REFUSE the Field tests!

The New York State standardized tests are finished – well at least the students have finished taking them (or so we thought – see below **). For those parents who had their students take the tests, there will be a several month wait until test scores are received.

Some might wish that I would stop talking about tests, however I believe it is important to understand why many parents REFUSED the tests for their children. Dr. Padalino reported to the Kingston Board of Education that 10.7% of Kingston students grades 3-8 refused the ELA state test and 24% of students grades 3-8 refused the state math test.  This article was written prior to the state math tests being administered but it clearly articulates many of the concerns that I have and reasons why my daughter did not take the ELA and math state tests.

Unless a miracle happens and all of the politicians who are in support of Common Core are ousted in November, at both the state and federal level, we will still have state tests next year and parents will need to decide if their students will take those tests or not. Please inform yourselves now.

** State testing is not really finished – we still have field testing yet this school year. Do you want your student being a test subject for Pearson for FREE?  REFUSE the field tests – they are NOT mandatory!

Green Laces

Field tests are assigned to certain grades within the various school districts by the New York State Education Department (assignments listed here).  Students in the following grades/schools in the Kingston City School District will be taking field tests starting next week:

  • Chambers – 4th grade math (school code 620600010011)
  • Crosby – 4th grade math  (school code 620600010015)
  • Edson – 4th grade math (school code 620600010024)
  • Graves 4th grade ELA  (school code 620600010017)
  • GW – 5th grade math   (school code 662401060003)
  • Myer – 4th grade science  (school code 620600010013)
  • JFK – 3rd grade ELA (if I picked the correct school code 620600010014 )
  • Bailey – grade 8 math  (school code 620600010020)
  • Miller – grade 7 ELA  (school code 620600010025)
  • Kingston High School – US History, Earth Science and Geometry  (school code 620600010022)

Local schools determine when they administer the test between June 2-11, 2014.  If a student is absent on the field test day, they will not be asked to make up the test per this letter.

Turns out my students luck out this year and are not in the grades assigned for field testing.  However if your student is in a grade that will be taking a field test at their school, I recommend that you submit a copy of the field test refusal letter below and REFUSE the field testing for your student.



Regarding upcoming Field Tests:

Testing companies often pay test subjects to get feedback on experimental test questions. Three times a year, the testing company Pearson uses NYS children to try out test questions for future exams FREE OF CHARGE. As a matter of fact, your taxpayer money covers the cost of administering these tests. There are scheduled stand alone field tests in the fall and the spring, and field test questions are embedded into the spring ELA and math state assessments. This, of course, makes the ELA and math assessments even longer than they already are. About a month before the field tests are distributed, the SED puts out a field test testing schedule. About half of NYS schools are selected in the fall, and the other half are selected in the spring. Not all grades are selected. The SED has instructed schools not to make parents aware of these tests and what they are for. In a memo from last year to NYS districts, they stated, “Students should not be informed of the connection between these field tests and State assessments”. Field tests have no bearing on your child’s report card grades, the teachers grades, or the school grades. No feedback is given for these tests by the testing company to districts. The field tests take up to 50 minutes to administer.  Refusing these tests is a given. These tests yet again take precious time away from our children’s classroom learning.

Some districts are refusing to administer the field tests. Most want to refuse, but are afraid that doing so will have ramifications against the school. But as always, parents can take a stand against yet another useless assessment imposed on our children. If your school/child’s grade has been selected, and if you choose to refuse, just submit this field test refusal letter (or write your own):

Dear Administrator,

Thank you for all that you do for our students. I am refusing any traditional and/or PARCC field tests, for my child, (name of child) that are expected to be administered later this spring.  

I understand that (name of school) will be administering field tests. Our children are already over tested, and I see no good reason to subject my child to yet another assessment that will take away valuable instructional time. I am of the opinion that field tests use our children as unwilling and unpaid participants for market research so that testing companies can create their products. I am already opposed to the testing culture that dominates our schools today, and I will not allow my child to participate in any testing that enhances the corporate influence in our school.

To be clear, my child will not be participating in any of the upcoming field tests of any nature.
Thank you,
Name of Parent/Guardian

“Test of the Test” NOT Mandated Despite NYSEDs Deception

This post from the Schools of Thought Hudson Valley, NY blog is long but fully explains that students are NOT mandated to take the upcoming New York State field tests in science, math and ELA. Parents should refuse the field tests! Some school districts (superintendents and boards of education) are even refusing to administer the field tests!


According to our research (confirmed by school lawyers and NYSED), there are no penalties for declining to particpate in the field test although NYSEDs Ken Slentz does send a very stern letter implying that the tests are required. Truth be told, the statute is silent on field tests, NYSED has admitted in writing that they are NOT mandated and there are no penalties for refusing to participate in what amounts to a voluntary “test of the test” program. Districts across the State may refuse the NYS field tests.

Schools of Thought Hudson Valley, NY “Test of the Test” NOT Mandated Despite NYSED’s Deception

Check out the post!