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stop overtesting

New language in our most recent contract gives teachers unprecedented power to limit unnecessary testing that robs students of instructional time. 

Article 44.32 gives us rights to limit assessments to only those tests mandated by the federal or state government or that are required for REACH purposes. Any additional tests must be discussed and then voted on by the teachers and principal. This planning must take place in the spring of each school year.

We recommend that your Professional Problems Committee (PPC) meet with teachers ASAP to discuss whether tests (DIBELS, TRC, MClass Math, progress monitoring, 5-week assessments, etc.) should be administered (see information below for common non-mandated tests). Bring this up as an item on your PPC agenda with the principal. The teachers and principal should vote on whether to administer these additional assessments. Only member-approved assessments should be included in the school’s CIWP (formerly SIPAA).

PPCs or delegates who have not heard from their principal on this matter should reach out to them to initiate the process. If you have questions, call your field rep. Delegates passed a resolution to support limited testing at all CPS schools at the April 2018 House of Delegates meeting declaring that “the CTU advises teachers in all schools to work collaboratively to establish the least possible amount of testing of their students, while still supporting teachers’ instructional expertise and practice.”

Guide To Implementing Our New Testing Contract Language For 2018-19

In our new contract, we won strong language to limit over-testing. This PowerPoint presentation "Testing in CPS" is an overview of the types of tests that exist in CPS, which can be mandated, cost and ramifications. It was created in the fall of 2017 when schools first voted on assessment.

Download the "Testing in CPS" PowerPoint. 

The following FAQ is intended to help clarify the new language.

Download a PDF version to print and distribute.

What tests do I have to give?

Under contract article 44-32 (p 184-185), CPS can only require tests that are mandated by state or federal law, REACH tests, and tests required for particular programs (e.g., IB). This includes 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, 5-week assessments, Measuring Up Live, Fall & Winter NWEA, PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 do not fit into any of those mandated categories.

How can we enforce this contract article?
  • Many CTU members want to recover instructional time by eliminating excessive tests. This spring, the principal shall consult with the PPC and faculty to prepare an assessment plan for next school year. The PPC should make sure that the plan is discussed by the faculty, including in grade levels/bands, subject areas, and special education.
  • No later than one week before the final day of school attendance, and at least one week after staff have received the assessment plan, teachers and the principal shall vote, using fair voting procedures, agreed upon by the PPC and the principal. Adoption of the plan shall be by majority vote.
  • If the PPC is unanimous, they may 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 agreement is reached, either party may submit the plan to strategic bargaining for resolution.
  • LSC representatives should make sure that no assessments other than those approved by member vote are written into the Continuous Improvement Work Plan (CIWP) which is completed this spring.
  • If you need assistance, please contact your field representative.

Current contract language regarding assessments

Article 44-32. Assessments

 [see pages 184-185 in the Contract]

44.32.1 Required Assessments.

No later than June 30th of each year (or as soon as practicable after ISBE has published the state assessment calendar), the Board shall publish an assessment calendar for the subsequent school year, which shall consist of assessments mandated by the district for REACH, required to meet the mandates of state or federal laws and regulations, and mandated by a program (i.e., IB or any program that requires a test for student credit or program accreditation).

44.32.2 Additional Assessments.

Schools shall determine assessments to be administered in conjunction with the development of the School Improvement Plan for Advancing Academic Achievement (SIPAA) which is currently known as the Continuous Improvement Work Plan (CIWP). Each year in the spring, Teachers and the Principal will collaborate to develop a recommended plan for additional assessments, if any, per grade band or content area/department. Prior to voting, the CEO or designee, may review and revise the proposed assessment plan, which shall be presented to and discussed with the school faculty. Teachers and the principal will then vote on the adoption of the plan, which shall be adopted by majority vote. If the plan is not adopted, and the faculty and/or the CEO or designee cannot agree on an alternative plan, the Union or the CEO or designee may submit the matter for resolution at strategic bargaining. The assessment decision will be included in the school’s PD plan and reviewed by the district.

44.32.3 Submission of concerns.

The District shall provide a way that staff can submit any issues and/or concerns (e.g. dedicated assessment email box) to Central Office in a confidential manner. CPS and CTU will meet quarterly to review their concerns and/or issues that are submitted.

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Chicago Teachers Union