Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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June 10, 2013

Teachers ask for support on tests

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — School boards across the state are being asked by the New York State United Teachers union for support in the group’s resolution against “over-reliance on state testing.”

The Lockport Education Association, the city school district teachers union, spoke to Board of Education members Wednesday about supporting NYSUT’s campaign.

“We’re appealing to the commission of education and the Board of Regents about the reliance of overtesting from standardized tests,” Arlene Reese, LEA president, said. “The testing situation is definitely affecting in-class instruction.”

NYSUT says it is concerned about the loss of instruction time in the classroom, as well as the funding of the testing, Reese said.

State testing includes English language arts and math exams for each grade, grades three through eight, as well as Regents exams. The change is the length of the tests. For example, at the elementary level, there’s about three weeks of time spent on testing.

At the fourth grade level, kids are subject to series of three tests over three days, roughly 70 minutes per test. The math exams are also three days, 70 minutes each for the first two days and 90 minutes for the last day, said Joe Flaherty, a fourth grade teacher at George Southard.

“We’re not saying that assessments are bad, how else do we know how our students are doing, how else do we know how to focus on?” Flaherty said. “It’s a lot to handle all at once.”

The changes are a result of New York’s implementing of rigorous new English and math standards. The state is one of 45 that have adopted the Common Core standards, a uniform set of benchmarks which include a dozen changes in the way students are taught. From kindergarten through 12th grade, the goal is building an educational foundation that supports a student’s future.

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