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Imagine this great victory for teachers in New York: They will now be allowed to discuss test questions that have been released to the public!
Is this progress? No. Suppose teachers spot unreleased questions that are clearly wrong, poorly worded, confusing, incoherent. If they have not been released to the public, the teachers are not allowed to criticize them or call attention to errors.
Peter Greene wondered if the New York Times recognized the absurdity of its headline, which claimed that the state was going to “relax” the gag order.
See, now the state will allow teachers to discuss items on the test after they have been publicly released, whereas previously, teachers could only discuss test items after they had been publicly released.
The gag order protects Pearson. If the gag order prevailed, we would have never known about the nutty question on a Pearson test about “the pineapple and the hare.” That question was not publicly released. It became public not because of teachers but because students complained about it, and it leaked to the New York City Parent blog.
This “gag order” is insulting to teachers. It should be eliminated. Its only purpose is to protect the interests of the testing companies. They should release all their questions. No one will know which will be on future tests. If there are thousands of test questions available, students can use them to see what is expected of them. And if they are released, parents and teachers will have a chance to evaluate their quality. That may be what scares the testing companies most.
Take off the gag!