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Teachers unions demand changes to state testing system

Apr 09, 2019 12:15 pm
Rick Karlin is reporting for the Times Union following a major computer crash, the state's largest teachers union is demanding changes in the implementation of English and math tests for students in grades 3 through 8. “It’s time that the State Education Department finally took real ownership of this testing debacle,” said Jolene DiBrango, vice president of New York State United Teachers, a leading critic of the current test system. The exams are federally mandated, but put in place at the state level. DiBrango's remarks came as the Board of Regents was approving the current version of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and a week after the Education Department was forced to postpone a test day after computer crashes disrupted the two-day English tests. The math exams will begin later in the month. Similar computer crashes occurred last year. Approximately 25 percent of the state’s schools offered the online tests. In addition to computer problems, NYSUT believes the scoring cutoffs are not realistic, making it too easy for students and entire schools to be tagged as deficient. They also criticized the lack of time constraints on the tests, which allow students to take as long as they need to finish. Previously, teachers complained the tests did not offer students enough time. State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia defended the testing concept, but stressed she was “disgusted” by the problems with the test provider's performance. “What we’re doing in New York is to try to make those assessments the best they can be,” Elia said. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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