BOARDWATCH: 'REACH performance tasks are setting our children up to fail!' Sarah Chambers charges readability of reading test questions for lower grades is as high as 'college level' while Board members sit clueless

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 saw more than 500 people present for the meeting in the auditorium at Westinghouse High School, with 60 people signed up to speak. The following material was prepared by Sarah Chambers and provided to Substance by her. George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance].

Saucedo teacher Sarah Chambers told the Board that the REACH performance tasks had readability levels significantly above those of the students being tests. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.REACH Performance Tasks Are Setting up our Students to Fail By Sarah Chambers

My name is Sarah Chambers, and I am a special education teacher from Saucedo Academy. At the beginning of the year, every kid is given a REACH Performance Task. Board, members, I have a question for all of you: What do you think is the reading level for the 5th grade REACH performance task?

According to the Flesch Kincaid Readability Index, the reading level of the 5th grade REACH task is 12th grade reading level. Why would you all make a 5th grade test at a 12th grade reading level?

What is the 4th grade REACH task�s reading level? Any guesses? It is a 9th grade reading level. Why would you all choose to make the test so hard that it is impossible to pass?

You are setting up our children to fail! You are setting them up to fail, so you can label schools as failing, close our public schools in black and brown communities, fire our experienced teachers and privatize our schools.

You are about to vote on a motion to pass $649,000 for the Value Added Measures on these tests, which are proven to fail our students. If you truly do not want our students to fail, you will remove these unfair assessments and tell Illinois that we will not take the PARCC assessments, just how most other cities in this country have said no to the PARCC. If ISBE denies your demand, I know some people who could teach you how to boycott.

While Sarah Chambers was talking to the Board of Education on November 19, 2014, a supporter tried to hold up a sign so the Board could see what Sarah was talking about. The Board ordered security staff to tear down the sign ("no signage" seems to be a Board mantra), so that later, when they wanted to discuss the allegations in Chamers's speech, the Board members were clueless about what she said. Substance photo by David Vance.REACH task BOY readability 2014: 3rd grade literacy- 4.7

4th grade literacy- 9.6

5th grade literacy- 12.0 Poor kids!!

6th grade literacy- 8.9

6th grade SS (non-fiction)- 9.1

7th grade literacy- 7.3 Only test on grade level!

7th grade SS (non-fiction) 9.2

8th SS (non-ficiton)- 10.5

8th grade literacy-11.2


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