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Curie Teachers to Boycott CPS Exam

As CPS administrators move closer to dropping the Chicago Academic Standards Exam, a group of teachers at Curie Metro High has announced they will boycott the test.

Last month twelve Curie teachers signed a letter to CPS chief Arne Duncan saying they “will not be administering the CASE this year,” and other teachers at Curie and elsewhere have indicated they will follow suit, said Martin McGreal, an English teacher at Curie and spokesperson for Curie Teachers for Authentic Assessment.

The teachers support teacher accountability and state-city standards, McGreal said. But the CASE provides no detailed feedback, only raw score totals, and thus can’t be used to assess instructional practices, he said. And the test doesn’t reflect CPS standards, focusing on memorization and short-shrifting higher level skills.

The test wastes instructional time, McGreal adds, taking four days each semester with one or two weeks of preparation — and serving as a final exam but, to accommodate downtown test scorers, coming two weeks before the semester’s end. And it includes “poorly constructed and often inaccurate questions and answer choices.”

The teachers met recently with CPS officials.

“Essentially the CASE isn’t a very good test,” commented Tim Shanahan of the Center for Literacy at UIC. “I do think it disrupts instruction, and it leads teachers to focus on unimportant things.”

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Category: CPS, schools

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