Model parent letter on testing

signformPAA-Roanoke Valley leader Laura Bowman shared this excellent model letter prepared by her PAA chapter for parents to bring to school at the beginning of the school year:

 

Dear_____________,

Parents are concerned with the number of standardized tests their children take each year. In addition, parents believe the time spent preparing for the tests is excessive and they see the emotional fallout from the pressure from standardized testing on their children and on their children’s teachers. The expense of the tests at a time when our schools are being historically under-funded, and teacher retention rates are at an all-time low, has parents questioning the use of their tax dollars for these tests.

Parents understand the need for a reasonable amount of accountability and assessment. However, parents believe the focus on standardized test scores to gauge student learning reduces their children to mere data points, narrows the curriculum, and robs their children of meaningful learning experiences in the classroom. Parents want their children to become lifelong lovers of learning, not good test takers.

Therefore, parents in your district are requesting the following information on the standardized tests their children will be subjected to this school year. If you deem these standardized tests vital to instruction and assessment, parents are requesting transparency and accountability on your part. In short, parents are asking that you justify the resources, including time and money, being spent in your school district, on standardized testing.

It would be helpful for your school district to provide an answer sheet to each parent at the start of the school year, detailing the answers to the questions below.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response and to the answers to the questions below.

Sincerely,

____________

Parent in your school district

  1. How many standardized tests does my child have to take this year?
  2. What are the names of these tests and what is the specific academic purpose of each one?
  3. Where do these tests originate? Are they mandated by the state or are they the choice of the district?
  4. How will these tests affect my child’s academic future or standing?
  5. For each test, does the teacher see individual student results and have a chance to adjust individual instruction to help each student?
  6. Who sees the scores, where will they be recorded, and for what purpose?
  7. Do the scores become part of my child’s record?
  8. What are the costs associated with the tests per student and to the district per grade level?
  9. How much time does the administration of the test take?
  10. What training is provided to staff to administer the test and how much time does that encompass?
  11. Can you explain how test costs are used in a way that is in the best interest of the students?
  12. How many staff are taken away from teaching or counseling duties to administer the tests?

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc