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Pleasantville Superintendent Reacts To Reduced State Testing

Superintendents have responded to positively to the state announcing they are considering reducing some state testing.
Superintendents have responded to positively to the state announcing they are considering reducing some state testing. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user biologycorner

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Superintendents are reacting positively to an announcement that the state is looking to eliminate some standardized tests.

According to a report in LoHud, John King, State Education Commissioner, is telling school superintendents the Board of Regents is looking to eliminate the eighth-grade math test.

The Board of Regents is also considering eliminating other tests. King said grants will be provided to help school districts reduce local standardized tests.

"This is too little, too late," Pleasantville Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter said. "We've been asking them to do this for years."

Fox-Alter said while she thinks it's a good thing, she said there are bigger issues the state needs to address. Fox-Alter said many kids are being double tested with common core exams and the regents.

Fox-Alter said the grades 3 to 8 English Language Assessment tests are not allowed to be shown to students after the tests are taken.

"If a child gets a poor grade on a test, I can't explain why," Fox-Alter said. "It's ridiculous. They don't let us see the test. It's a huge problem."

The Pleasantville superintendent said the state said it would be too expensive, which she said was unacceptable.

"If we can’t see the test, how do I evaluate whether it's sound measure of curriculum?" Fox-Alter said.

William Stark, the superintendent of Blind Brook Schools in Rye Brook, applauded King and said this is the beginning of what has to be addressed. Like Fox-Alter, he said teachers need to be able to see the tests.

"It's particularly important that the tests we require students to take are properly vetted and include the ability for educators to see the examinations after they are given so the data can inform instruction," Stark said. "Right now that's not possible. It's important to realize that to have data-driven instruction, we have to have access to the data."

Lyn McKay, Superintendent of the Chappaqua School District, called it a step in the right direction.

"However, I think they should do much more. I would like them to consider a moratorium on all new state testing and the creation of state curricula until more voices can be heard and all parties have an opportunity to assess how these requirements are impacting teaching and learning," McKay said.

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