On Friday September 9, NYS PTA submitted comments on ESSA regulations relating to assessment, including assessing students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs) to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of the parents of nearly 4 million New York school children.
“Assessments can be an essential aspect of the learning process, however assessments should benefit the student and standardized assessments in particular must be limited in nature and solely diagnostic, to inform teachers on instructional opportunities and to assist parents in understanding how to support their child’s learning,” said Bonnie Russell, NYS PTA President.
“Parental input when developing assessments and improved parental understanding of the use of assessment data and reporting is critical,” says Gracemarie Rozea, NYS PTA 1st Vice President. “Meaningful parental engagement requires information to be presented in an easy to understand way for English speakers and translated for non-English speakers to the best of our ability.”
Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky added, “while we understand that valid, well-constructed and developmentally appropriate assessments may be used to inform instruction, as we have previously indicated NYS PTA strongly supports a parent’s right to make informed educational decisions for their children and support the right of every parent to decide what is best for their child; this includes decisions around their child’s participation in state assessments.” She continued, “NYS PTA does not believe that there should be negative consequences for educators or school leaders, or mandates for intervention to schools based on a parental right or decision.”
NYS PTA also addressed better support for our students with disabilities and English Language Learners, their parents and families in myriad of ways.
“While we understand the desire to include all students by age/grade level in accountability groups for state administered assessments, we have serious concerns where the assessments provided to students are well beyond their academic level or where English is a very new language,” said Jane Harsha, NYS PTA Vice President.
Catherine Romano, NYS PTA Education Coordinator added, “greater access to native language assessments for newly entered students and greater flexibility in accommodations for students with disabilities, beyond the 1% exemption, must be considered.”
NYS PTA highlighted its assessment positions, and their full letter can be found by clicking here.