Use your professional judgment
This has been far from a regular year. The pandemic created a myriad of problems and CPS’ response created even more. Even more than ever, the last thing our students need is to spend next year being taught to the test and cramming every possible assessment into their schedules. There are certain required assessments. Faculty have a right to vote on any optional assessments their school will administer. You are the professional who knows your students and their needs. Don’t let pressure from the principal or network to add unnecessary non-mandated assessments take away teaching time you know your students need.
Step-by-step calendar for assessment voting
- Now through 5/13/2021: Principal must meet with PPC to discuss a draft plan for assessment.
- 5/17-5/21: Principal presents proposed assessment plan to school staff. Plan must be presented a minimum of one week prior to the vote.
- 5/24-5/28: School conducts a vote on the presented assessment plan. Plan is approved if a majority of participants vote in support of the plan. This is a teacher vote.
- 5/24-6/4: Schools whose plans pass notify the Department of Student Assessment using the SY22 Assessment Plan Submission Form. Schools whose plans do not pass work with Chiefs and/or Assessment team to conduct a virtual meeting with staff to devise an alternative plan.
- 6/17/21: If an alternative cannot be reached, and no plan is agreed upon, either side may submit the issue to Strategic Bargaining for a resolution.
CTU members now have an established procedure to implement our contract Article 44-32, which limits excessive standardized testing in our schools. At every school, our members can vote on their school’s assessment plan for 2021-2022 school year. Download our April 2021 ‘Know Your Rights’ Assessment flyer.
What tests do I have to give?
Under contract article 44-32, CPS can only require tests that are mandated by state or federal law, REACH tests, and tests required for particular programs (e.g., IB). Mandated tests include PARCC, NWEA Spring, REACH Performance Tasks, KIDS, SAT (grade 11), NAEP, Illinois Science Assessment, ACCESS for English Language Learners, Dynamic Learning Maps Alternative Assessment, and IB Assessments.
Which tests are NOT required?
TRC/DIBELS, mCLASS Math, NWEA MAP for Primary Grades (MPG), Progress Monitoring, five-week assessments, Measuring Up Live, Fountas & Pinnell, Compass, ANet, Fall & Winter NWEA, PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 do not fit into any of those mandated categories.
PPC and Principal Must Consult
This spring, the principal must consult with the PPC and faculty to prepare an assessment plan for next school year. The Delegate and PPC should make sure that the plan is discussed by the faculty, including in grade levels/bands, subject areas, and special education.
We highly recommend you convene a union meeting immediately to discuss, as a staff, your preferences, to maximize unity and influence over the school assessment plan and vote.
Adoption of the plan shall be by majority vote.
If the PPC is unanimous, they can authorize a particular grade/subject area or sub-group to conduct a simultaneous supplemental vote on assessments applicable only to that group.
If the recommended plan fails to win a majority, the principal and network may offer an alternative assessment plan. We strongly recommend that your PPC and faculty firmly represent the staff’s preference at this stage.
If no plan is approved, the plan can be submitted to strategic bargaining, the monthly meetings held between CTU and the CPS Labor Relations Department.
A Victory Against Over-testing
We view the new procedure and CPS draft assessment calendar as a victory, in that the vast majority of tests that educators have been forced to administer are not mandatory, and we have the right to vote them down, if we deem it educationally appropriate.
Forms & Resources
CPS Universal Screening Diagnostic Progress Monitoring
CAUTION: CPS is, as usual, trying to push more testing and assessment. Please make sure you look closely at the “REQUIRED” column. Most of what they are encouraging is not required. We know endless testing is not good for kids in the best of times. These have certainly not been the best of times. Please encourage your colleagues not to add optional assessments, benchmarks, screenings etc. We need time to teach. Your admin may pressure you and they may be pressured by their Networks. You are the experts; you know what is best for your students. Have confidence in your judgment and reach out to your colleagues to discuss before voting on any assessment plan that adds additional test that are not required.
Find Your Field Representative
Just as knowledge must be shared, your voice must be shared. Take action. Join a committee, represent your school community.
Your contract defines your rights and responsibilities as agreed by the Board of Education or by charter school operator. Study the contract and you will have the knowledge to defend your rights. Union staff will help you enforce them.