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Friday, September 19, 2014
State exams test patience of parents, teachers
Few Lynbrook, fewer East Rockaway students opt of tests

Shortly after this year’s state testing kicked off for students in third- through eighth- grade, so too did a discussion about the negative impacts of those tests at the April 17 Lynbrook Board of Education meeting.

Several community members asked the board to consider adopting a resolution, much like other districts in the county have, that would clearly state the board’s disapproval of the current state testing system. The exams in English Language Arts and math are administered over six days in a two-week span that ends Friday.

Craig Kirchenberg, president of the Lynbrook Teachers Association, shared a letter he wrote to the board expressing the LTA’s stance on the state assessments. “We believe that this testing trend is doing a disservice to our students,” he said, “and we ask that you speak out with us in informing the community about these concerns.

“We further ask that you stand with us in informing the commissioner of education, the New York State Board of Regents and our elected officials that the overreliance on standardized testing is not improving education. In fact, it’s having the opposite effect.”

The tests this year are based on the new Common Core Learning Standards, which were implemented in all districts in New York state this year. The more rigorous curriculum is designed to ensure that all students are college or career-ready when they graduate high school.

However, Kirchenberg said there is material on the tests that has not yet been taught. “Why are we having our students sit through tests on material that hasn’t been taught,” he said, “on material we know they are not going to be successful at?”

Under the new Annual Professional Performance Review plans, commonly known as APPR, a teacher’s performance is tied into student test scores for the first time this year. In Lynbrook, 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is based on student test scores, which include both state and local assessments.

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