Professional Experience and Personal Reflections
by Lisa Bowstead, Founder

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Students will NOT be held back just 
for "failing" or missing the State Tests
March 10, 2014

Students will NOT be held back simply for missing the state tests, nor is summer school an inevitable consequence. Principals are pushing teachers, students and parents into rigorous prep for the NYS tests because the schools and the teachers may be penalized by NYC and NYS for low student performance. 

It is therefore up to our children to prevent the dismissal of their teachers and  the closing of their schools. . . (wait, what?!)

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Despite what schools might be telling you, here are the ACTUAL NYC DOE RULES...  (CAPS added for emphasis) 

According to the DOE website: 

"Elementary and middle school students in New York State take yearly State tests in core academic subjects to assess their mastery of the Common Core Learning Standard. . . Students’ test results are ONE OF THE FACTORS that schools use to decide whether to promote a student to the next grade." 

Read the whole DOE page

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Regulation of the Chancellor
updated 07/18/2012


Decisions regarding promotion will consider all the stated criteria. The decision to promote or retain a student MAY NOT BE  BASED ON CONSIDERATION OF A SOLE CRITERION,  except that a student must attain a score of at least Proficiency Level 2 on the ELA and Mathematics standardized tests in order to be promoted from grade 3 through grade 7 (UNLESS THE STUDENT IS OTHERWISE DETERMINED TO BE READY FOR PROMOTION through the process set forth in Sections VI.D., VI.E., or VIII).

Promotion from Grade 3 through Grade 7 for English Proficient General Education Students and Students with Disabilities whose IEPs do not Specify a Modified Promotion Standard
  1. achieving Proficiency Level 2 or above on the designated standardized ELA assessment; and
  2. achieving Proficiency Level 2 or above on the designated standardized Mathematics assessment.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, where a principal determines, BASED UPON STUDENT  WORK, TEACHER OBSERVATION, AND GRADES IN ACADEMIC COURSES, that a student is not ready for the next grade, such student shall not be promoted.

Students who are not promoted pursuant to the promotion standards set forth in this Section A shall be considered for promotion pursuant to the procedures set forth in Sections D and E below.

Students who score Proficiency Level 1 on the designated standardized ELA or Mathematics assessment, and who are not promoted based on their promotion portfolio results in June, are recommended for Summer School and encouraged to take the needed New York City Summer ELA and/or Mathematics tests in August. Students need to take only the assessment(s) in the content area they did not pass in the spring.

Section VII. E. 2. 
In August, for each student who has failed to attain Level 2 or above on one or both assessments, the principal shall review the portfolio previously submitted by the classroom teacher along with August assessment scores, summer school work, and any summer school teacher observations. IF, IN THE PRINCIPAL'S JUDGEMENT, A STUDENT HAS  ATTAINED THE EQUIVALENT OF LEVEL 2, THE PRINCIPAL SHALL SUBMIT A RECOMMENDATION FOR PROMOTION to the superintendent, along with the supporting documentation.

Read the whole 
Chancellor Regulation regarding Promotion Standards:

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I have been a teacher, a tutor and a student advocate for over 8 years, and I have yet to know of any student who was held back as a result of a state test alone. Students, and especially students with special needs (such as students with physical disabilities, learning issues, medical issues, emotional issues, or family issues) are evaluated for promotion on their classwork, their other assessments, end-of-year projects, psych evaluations, and other assessments. The Chancellor's regulation, above, is very clear. 

What will happen if a student either scores a 1 or misses the tests? According to the Chancellor's regulation, their teachers and principal will find other criteria upon which to promote them, called a "Promotion Portfolio"  -- and you won't even need to ask them to do this.

Meanwhile, if ENOUGH students skip the tests, the available data will not be a statistically accurate measure of the aggregate school performance, and therefore the teachers and schools will have grounds for appeal if they receive a low rating. 
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"There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction."  -- John F. Kennedy