The state Board of Regents, with testing policies drawing increasing public outcry, is shortening the time that students will have to take next spring's standardized tests but not the tests themselves. Some local educators dismissed the action as meaningless and counterproductive.
The Regents Monday approved plans to trim 20 minutes from the total time scheduled for math assessments that are to be given in April to hundreds of thousands of students on Long Island and statewide. Testing time for some state English Language Arts tests will be trimmed by a total of 10 minutes, officials said.
Estimated times for the tests' completion last spring ranged from 150 to 170 minutes, spread over three days. Exact times depended upon grade levels.
State Education Department officials said a check of last spring's records showed the large majority of students completed exams in less time than they were allotted. Reducing the time means fewer students will sit at their desks with nothing to do, they added.
Gee, I remember the problem being the exact opposite of what the Regents say it is - many children did not have the time to complete the tests last year.
According to Newsday, that's what educators on Long Island remember too:
But local school leaders challenged the reasoning behind Monday's action, saying many students grew anxious when they could not complete unfamiliar new test questions within the time allowed. Passage rates plunged more than 40 percent because of changes in cutoff scores and the addition of revised questions based on rigorous new Common Core academic standards.
A local school leader puts this latest jive move by educrats in the state in perspective for us:
"I think it's a meaningless response," said Roberta Gerold, president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and superintendent of the Middle Country school district. "Shortening the tests or lengthening the tests, they're still tests that cause anxiety."
And in the end, that's exactly right.
They have built the entire public education system around the tests - the only thing that matters are the scores.
Students, teachers, administrators, whole schools, whole school districts - all risk being labeled "failing" if the scores are not good.
Students may be held back, teachers and administrators may be labeled "ineffective" and fired after two years, schools may be closed down and reopened as charter schools, whole districts may be taken over by the state educrats (as Commissioner King threatened Buffalo with.)
So long as the system remains built around FEAR and TESTING, the anxiety everybody is feeling over the tests, from students to parents to teachers to administrators, will not abate.
Lessening the time allotted for state tests by a few minutes will not decrease test anxiety this year.
In fact, it will increase anxiety.
This is another state "fix" to the test problem that is just going to make things worse and throw more fuel onto the anti-Common Core/anti-testing fire.
Another genius move by the education reformers that shows you how much they are flailing away now that they are meeting resistance to their agenda.
I'll have more later on this.