Meeting with Chief of Accountability at CPS - 2/21/13

We were invited to meet with the Chief of Accountability at CPS this week. He had to cut out early for another meeting and we met with the new Director of Assessment after he left. CPS is planning to do "focus groups" soon with parents, teachers and admin on testing and say they have been tasked with reducing the amount of standardized tests by CEO Byrd-Bennett but could not give any details of their plans. This is a follow-up letter we sent to Mr. Barker, Chief of Accountability.

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Dear Dr. Barker,

Thank you for inviting us to meet yesterday. In the future, it would be great if you could let us know in advance if your schedule has changed and we will be happy to reschedule with you for a time when you can be there.

We look forward to a directive from the CEO to Networks and Principals for each individual school to send home a letter with a list of all standardized testing, a general schedule for the testing, and the amount of time for each test.

We respectfully request that the CEO immediately work to change the culture around any required standardized testing so that schools and children are not labeled as failing, teachers and principals are not pressured to make standardized testing the educational priority of the school, and any necessary standardized testing happens in a supportive environment.

As you work to make recommendations about streamlining the required standardized assessments, we hope you will be realistic about the limited resources in our schools and the trade-offs necessary to use standardized tests, for example that computer labs and technology and library teachers are utilized for weeks on end for standardized testing rather than instructional time with students. As you and your team evaluate the virtues of each standardized test, we ask that eliminating a percentage of them be one of your team's goals. While each test may offer merit in and of itself, when they are administered to the students in such large numbers, the value is eclipsed by the stress of frequency. As we mentioned yesterday, we are particularly concerned about the use of standardized testing on the PreK-2ndgrade population.
 
Finally we look forward to more closely examining the PERA requirements; we are especially interested in the Type II and Type III assessments as authentic ways to measure student growth.
 
Thanks again for reaching out to us. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,
Wendy Katten
Raise Your Hand