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Study: ‘Fixed Costs’ Double Time Spent On Standardized Tests

Changes to New York standardized testing are in the air. Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force finished its public sessions last month examining the state’s standards and testing program, and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has already pledged to shorten math and English Language Arts (ELA) exams.

According to the New York Times, Cuomo may be ready to de-link tests and evaluations entirely. In the midst of it all, though, a new study from SUNY New Paltz urges the state to re-think how it calculates time spent on tests. Co-author Robin Jacobowitz says testing takes more time in schools than we realize. The report estimates the “fixed costs” of testing: extra chunks of time used to prepare and get students back on track after the exam.

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NY Hopes Practice Makes Perfect For Online Testing

Number two pencils may soon be a thing of the past for New York students. The state is moving toward giving annual standardized tests online instead of on paper, and they want schools to try online testing on a limited basis this year to work out the kinks. You might think middle school students would have no trouble with online tests, with all the time we spend online these days. But Chenango Valley technology director Sarah Latimer says it’s always a challenge to navigate a new piece of software. “Some of the math software questions might have a drag and drop component that students need to be able to use in order to be able to build an equation or write out their answer,” she says.

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What Do New York Schools Actually Do With State Test Scores?

The standardized testing process is a little mysterious. Third through eighth graders take New York state exams every spring. But once they’re done, everybody goes on summer break. Where do the results go? Last week schools around the state received those results.

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NY 3-8 Test Scores Post Slight Gains, Southern Tier Lags Behind

Results are out from year three of New York’s Common Core tests. Students showed some progress in math, but not much change in English. The state hailed these results as progress, but in the Southern Tier the outlook is a little more complicated. Statewide Gains

State Education officials admit there’s plenty of room for improvement on the Common Core-related tests, but they praised a seven percent increase in math scores since 2013. The percentage of students passing the English exams remains stuck at around 31 percent.

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NY Dumps Pearson For 3-8 Standardized Tests

Testing giant Pearson will no longer develop New York’s standardized tests for elementary and middle school students. The state is turning instead to Questar Assessment. That could signal a broader shift on education after heated controversy. Pearson took a beating for its role in New York’s transition to the Common Core. The company developed new tests that some said were age-inappropriate, and outrage sparked a test boycott. Now Questar is slated to take over development of those tests, but Robin Jacobowitz at SUNY New Paltz says getting rid of Pearson won’t address all the criticism.

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After Heated Debate, NY Regents Finalize Teacher Evaluations

The details of New York’s new teacher evaluation law are now clear – mostly. After the law passed in the state budget, the Board of Regents and state Education Department had to figure out how heavily to weigh student test scores and when the changes would go into effect. The Regents disagreed with the department’s recommendations, made several changes, then voted on the rules earlier this week. SUNY New Paltz education researcher Robin Jacobowitz spoke with WSKG’s Solvejg Wastvedt and explained the Regents’ concern over the law. Solvejg Wastvedt: What were the Regents trying to accomplish with the changes they made?

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Majority Of Parents Say ‘No’ To Standardized Tests

On state test day at school, all the students file in, sharpen their No. 2 pencils, and bend over their bubble sheets. Or, not. In Cooperstown, New York last month, sixty-one percent of students in grades 3-8 refused to take the state tests. They call it “opting out.” They’re part of a push in New York and elsewhere to refuse tests as a form of protest against controversial education policies.