PARCC/CMAS and Testing Issues

If you have a child in 4th or 5th grade I am sure you know about the issues we’ve had trying to administer the CMAS Social Studies and Science tests. These issues are not isolated to Steele, as they have occurred throughout the district and state. We have had connectivity issues during two testing sessions; these issues were due to Pearson’s platform (the test distributor) and were 100% on their end. Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do to rectify these issues. We just have to wait for them to fix it. At this time we have one day of CMAS Social Studies and Science testing to complete; this will take place (hopefully) today. I apologize for scheduling this on “Take Your Child to Work Day.” When we looked at our school schedule, it was the only day that worked, for a variety of reasons. If any child misses testing, they will have an opportunity to make up the test.

I’d like to thank our students and teachers for still making the most out of all of our learning opportunities. It’s always a challenge to learn in the middle of testing, especially when it doesn’t go as planned. Yet our kids and staff have rolled with the interruptions and have been doing quality work in the classroom. I continue to be impressed with the level of planning, quality of instruction, and student engagement when I visit classrooms.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to advocate for our kids. If you have not already, I want to strongly encourage you to write a letter to your state representative about the amount and quality of testing required of our children. I am actually an advocate for school accountability measures and I believe that testing should be a component of those measures. However, I also believe that we are testing our students too frequently, not getting feedback quickly enough, and taking away from valuable instructional time in the classroom. These are my personal beliefs; I speak solely for myself when I state this. I do know from talking to parents that many of you feel the same way. If you feel this way, reach out to your state legislators so we can let them know that we want change. The Colorado Senate representative for Steele families is Irene Aguilar. The House representative is Alec Garnett (for West Wash Park) and Lois Court (for East Wash Park). If you want to find out who your representative is, you can visit http://openstates.org/co/. To find out your legislator’s e-mail address, visit http://openstates.org/co/legislators/.

Thanks for your patience and support as we work through these changes and strive to always put students first.

-Kevin Greeley