Forget teaching to the test — at this Washington Heights elementary school, parents canceled it!
A Washington Heights elementary school has canceled the new standardized multiple-choice tests for the youngest public school students — after more than 80% of parents opted to have their kids sit out the exam.
In an apparently unprecedented move, Castle Bridge School parents — representing 83 of the 97 students — rejected the new city requirement that affects 36 schools that serve only K through second grade.
“My feeling about testing kids as young as 4 is it’s inhumane,” said PTA co-chairwoman Dao Tran, mother of first-grader Quyen Lamphere, 5. “I can only see it causing stress.”
The state now requires schools to factor test scores — in one form or another — into their teacher evaluations, which are new this year in the city.
Students at the 36 “early education” schools are too young to take the regular state reading and math exams, so the littlest kids are sitting down for different tests.
As the Daily News reported earlier this month, such exams, given to kids as young as 4, require students to fill in bubbles to show their answers.
It’s like the SAT for kids barely older than toddlers. And parents resent it.
“Our principal does a good job,” said PTA co-chairwoman Elexis Pujolos, mother of kindergartner Daeja, 4, and first-grader AJ, 6. “A test could not possibly measure what she is able to.”
Principal Julie Zuckerman canceled the required tests because the scores wouldn’t provide statistically meaningful data once so many parents opted out.
She also hates judging teachers even partly on the basis of a test.
“It can’t be used as evaluation tool of teachers even if it were a valid test — which it’s not,” she said.
It wasn’t clear exactly how the teachers at the school would be evaluated under the state’s requirements, given the widespread decision to opt out the tests.
“We will work with the school and the state to determine the appropriate measure of student learning for this school,” said Education Department spokeswoman Erin Hughes.
Castle Bridge, which reserves up to 10% of its spots for kids with a parent in jail, has some touchy-feel practices.
Kids get a quiet time nearly most days, where they can snuggle up with a teddy bear for nap or read a book quietly. Teachers write multiple-page narratives instead of giving report cards.
But parents said they chose the school because the project-based, more creative forms of learning develop critical thinking skills better than the required tests, which parents were shocked to learn about.
“I was irate. I was very angry,” said Vera Moore, mother of second-grader Yvene Mackey, 7, and kindergartner Zalyair Mackey, 5. “This school teaches to the child not to the test.”