Last week, the Baltimore Teachers Union conducted a survey of its membership on BCPSS’s proposed assessment rubric and assessment seat time projections. Just over 100 BTU members responded in a short amount of time, indicating by a slim margin that they want the BTU to approve the district testing rubric, but they overwhelmingly want the BTU to reject the seat time projections. 76 of the 103 teachers who responded teach at least one tested subject, and 77 different BCPSS schools were represented in the survey.
Teachers and PSRPs conveyed a range of views on the efficacy of various assessments, but nearly every educator expressed concern about tests taking away valuable instructional time. Additionally, from kindergarten through 12th grade, educators observed an “unhealthy level of stress and anxiety due to testing.” Another common sentiment was that “ constant assessments reduce students’ enthusiasm for school and learning, turning them into test takers rather than
Educators also flagged district errors in calculating the assessment times that eat into instruction, noting that BCPSS documents “only take into account the time to administer the assessment, not the time to get everything set up and put away.” Others noted that certain district level mandated assessments were missing altogether from district calculations, such as Wit and Wisdom end of module assessments.
According to BTU members who responded to the survey, testing also limits the co-teaching and support that special educators and ESOL teachers provide, as they are frequently pulled from their regular schedules to administer their own required assessments or provide support in another room that is engaged in mandated testing. Multiple ESOL teachers stated this happens
for at least 4, and often many more, weeks out of the school year.
The BTU thanks its members for taking the time to fill out the survey. We will be sharing with BCPSS officials your specific concerns, ranging throughout every grade level and about each mandated assessment. There will be more to come as we fight to ensure the More Learning, Less Testing Act.