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Jeffery Corbett, president of the Oklahoma PTA, released the following statement today:
Oklahoma PTA Encourages Parents to Opt-Out of Field Test
January 27, 2015: In an effort to keep the parents, guardians and students of Oklahoma’s public schools informed about the administration of field test questions in standardized tests, Oklahoma PTA has asked the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to release specific information regarding a field test writing prompt included in both the 5th grade and 8th grade writing assessments for 2015.
“Parents are frustrated by the overwhelming use of standardized tests,” stated Jeffery Corbett, President. “Oklahoma PTA believes that parents have the right to make informed decisions regarding whether or not their child provides unpaid research to the billion-dollar testing industry. They deserve the opportunity to opt their child out of the field test.”
The state department has informed districts that these tests will contain two writing prompts: one that is operational and one that is a field test. A prompt provides the student with one or more passages to read, followed by a question to which an essay response is generated. A field test prompt was part of these tests as recently as 2013.
The OSDE did not inform districts which prompt is for the field test, so parents are not able to obtain that information from their school.
In July 2014, members of Oklahoma PTA unanimously adopted a resolution objecting to the mass administration of field tests, stating that students should not be expected to conduct corporate research for any testing company.
Information obtained through the scoring of field tests is not provided to the student, parent, teacher or school district. The testing company, however, obtains valuable data to help develop tests that will then be sold back to the State of Oklahoma for a profit. This, of course, comes after public tax dollars are spent not teaching students, but instead administering tests to them, creating a meaningless loss of instructional time.
“By calling for an opt-out of the field test prompt, we are taking a strong stand against testing as education,” Corbett stated. “Our future, our children, deserve more than to be great test takers.”
The response to the field test inquiry will be shared with PTA members and made available to the public at http://www.okpta.org once it has been received from the OSDE.