The following letter, written by Karen McClure-Richard of Lewiston, Maine, appeared in our local newspaper this morning. It was written in response to the superintendent’s call for an improved state test, and it’s awesome.
This is a response to Bill Webster’s guest column about the MEA tests (June 18). I find his change in opinion on that test very interesting. As a parent, I have spent the past five years advocating that school leaders take a hard look at the over-testing of students. Much of what Webster discussed in his column could have come directly from the many emails I have sent the Lewiston School Committee through the years.
Sadly, while so much focus has been on the one state-mandated test, I have been seeing an increase in the amount of time being spent on numerous assessments that are used multiple times per year, starting with even the youngest students in kindergarten.
Parents do not have access to that information. Teachers continue to say that little, if any, of the data gleaned from those assessments helps guide their instruction, as there are far too many and much of the data they are consistently buried in is often contradictory. It also generates a huge loss in instruction time, causing frustration for students and teachers, which probably contributes to other classroom challenges.
By condemning the MEA, I hope that Webster is not promoting the all-too-frequent use of other embedded assessments, which seems to be the way of the proficiency-based model.
I will continue to opt my children out of all of them. My kids are doing fine and their teachers know what they can do … without the assessments.