Sanity Returning to the NYS Department of Education:  Timed-Tests Out!

Dear Commons Community,

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced yesterday that time limits will be removed from a number of required student tests.  As reported in the New York Daily News:

“New York schoolkids can take as long as they want to complete state reading and math evaluation tests this year, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Wednesday.

Speaking at a legislative hearing in Albany, Elia said that the decision to remove time limits for students who take the tests was a reaction to public outcry.

“I heard from parents across this state and from teachers that part of the stresses that we had on our kids was that they were timed, and particularly younger children,” the commissioner said in a question-and-answer period following her testimony on Gov. Cuomo’s $145 billion budget proposal…

…Time limits on the exams in previous years ranged from 70 to 90 minutes for each test. The tests are administered to grades three through eight over six days in April.

The exams have faced intense and widespread criticism that grew when they were first pegged to tougher Common Core academic standards in 2013.

Roughly 20% of 1,000,000 eligible students statewide boycotted the tests in 2015 in protest of the exams’ quality and prominent role in the public schools.

City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said she supports Elia’s decision to lift time limits on the tests.

“I totally applaud it,” said Fariña, who also delivered testimony on Cuomo’s budget in Albany Wednesday. “One of the biggest stress points for students is, will I get it finished in time? And I think it will also go a long way for parents who have complaints about their children not having the stamina for this.”

City teachers also praised Elia’s decision.

“This is a pretty big deal,” said Michele Cleary, a teacher at Middle School 247 in Manhattan. “Kids don’t really have enough time to read closely and answer the questions … so having unlimited time will help them a lot.”

State officials said they will distribute guidance on the policy change to educators in the coming weeks.”

BRAVA – Commissioner Elia!  A significant step in the right direction.




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