Press-Republican

Local News

June 14, 2013

Local student cited in testing debate

(Continued)

The Common Core curriculum has not fully matriculated. Many students were tested this year on material they had not seen.

“They threw these kids in, and they’re not swimming,” Laura Stevens said.

MAKING HER POINT

The final question on Sophia’s Test is:

“Which of the following people could make the biggest change to NYS testing?”

And she provides the following multiple-choice answers:

E) A student

F) A teacher

G) The Commissioner of Education

H) The governor.”

Maybe all of the answers are correct?

“I just wanted to get the point across that the tests aren’t fair and are not proving anything about what our teachers are teaching us,” the 13-year-old told the Press-Republican.

“They just seem pointless. Just think how boring the world would be if everybody was the same.”

CRITICAL THINKING

“I’m just concerned that they are focusing so much on the test themselves that the things we want in adults — the critical thinking skills — are not there,” Laura said.

“Critical thinking is something we want to foster at the youngest age possible. Beyond testing, there is more than one way to tackle a problem.”

Saranac Lake School Board is one of several throughout New York that has asked the Education Department to rethink testing policy.

REACTING TO THE ISSUE

In Albany, Barbara Bradley is deputy director of communications and research for the New York State School Boards Association.

She said the backlash is fiscal: If schools don’t achieve 95 percent of students in testing, they face federal aid cuts.

“That is about 8 percent of a school district’s budget or revenue,” Bradley said.

She did not know what the average cost of testing is for districts.

But throughout the spring, the association has been listening to the discourse.

“The School Board Association does not have a position on this,” Bradley said.

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