Field Tests Ensure Transparency and Integrity of High-Quality Student Assessments

Some New York parents are complaining that their children are participating in field tests for student assessments, the New York Post reports. “Parents are not aware that their children are being forced to sit for these guinea-pig tests,” argues Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union.

Michael Reilly, president of the Staten Island Community Education Council, alleges field test are akin to “free labor.” “There are a lot more important things that schools can use that [time] for.”

Unfortunately, Davids and Reilly miss the point. Field testing is necessary to ensure that student assessments include only high-quality content, with questions that are free of bias, and adds little to no additional burdens on test-takers. Only about a fraction of students receive assessments with content being field tested, and the questions are embedded alongside the “real” material, so students are able to treat all content equally.

According to the New York Post, “State spokeswoman Jeanne Beattie said field testing is standard practice and the best way to ensure that good questions free of racial or gender bias are picked for the actual exams.”

Here’s a reminder of why high-quality assessments are super important.