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June 14, 2013

Local student cited in testing debate

(Continued)

Sophia’s test then offers multiple-choice questions about the written entry, in this case, her letter “Dear New York State.”

“I definitely wanted to make it as close to the actual test as I could,” she said of the style.

“The tests are not actually clear all the time. There may be more than one answer that seems right.”

TEST PREP

Sophia did take the English Language Arts and math assessment tests this year, though dozens of students throughout the region refused the tests in accord with their parents’ views.

“The ELA definitely was hard. I almost ran out of time,” Sophia said. “The math, I actually found pretty easy.

“But I think testing takes up a lot of our time in school. We take a lot of time to do test preparation when we could do other stuff that’s more interesting. Usually, we have homework assignments that are test examples.”

NATIONAL BLOG

Sophia’s mom, Laura Stevens, is proud of her daughter for engaging the testing debate in an innovative way.

A blog entry in “The Answer Sheet” on the Washington Post website mentioned Sofia’s test and drew comments from hundreds of readers.

“I was amazed to see on the Washington Post that there are so many comments,” Laura said.

“It (Sophia’s test) started the conversation for some people. I think that New York state especially has just rushed into this and not thought it out thoroughly enough to implement it in the best way for the kids and for the teachers. They threw it out there to keep the funding.”

In fact, New York Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch suggested in comments to the press last April that testing ahead of Common Core instruction would suffice: “We can’t wait. We have to just jump into the deep end,” she said.

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