Myth 1

The State Tests Help Teachers Teach

A good test allows teachers to zero in on students’ areas of strength and weakness and adapt instruction accordingly. But the New York State test results arrive at the end of the school year, too late to be useful to your child’s current teacher. Nor do they help teachers much the following fall: 5 months after your child took the state tests, the results are no longer so relevant. In that time, your child has learned new things, forgotten others. To make an effective improvement plan, the teacher needs to know where your child is now, not two seasons ago.

In addition to timely delivery, the results should be detailed enough that teachers can figure out exactly where children need more support. Many teachers have complained that test results they receive are so vague as to be meaningless. An internal survey of 28 teachers at PS 321 (see page 2 of this pdf) found that not a single teacher considered the test results helpful.