Could new tests be a burden to student learning?

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PARCC requires the use of electronic devices for student test purposes. A need the Hewlett-Woodmere School District can accommodate, according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Dr. Peter Weber, as wireless Internet is available in every classroom and major instructional space. “This step ensures that there will be enough bandwidth for all test takers to download examination material and upload their answers,” Weber said.

The largest projected cost of PARCC, according to Weber, reflects the need to provide individual tablets or computers for the assessments. District voters will be asked to approve a separate proposition to authorize spending $223,360 from the Technology Reserve fund for computer tablets. “The foresight of the voters, in establishing the reserve many years ago, will sharply reduce any budgetary impact associated with the hardware cost of the PARCC initiative if adopted by the state,” he said.

Pedersen said the Lawrence has applied for the state’s School Technology Voucher Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible school districts to improve their readiness for computer-based testing. “We have a budget line for technology and equipment,” she said. “The state has recently surveyed the school districts to assess their technological readiness for the administration of these computer-based assessments and we remain hopeful that the results of the survey conducted by the New York State Education Department will lead to changes in state education funding.”

Hewlett-Woodmere parent Shari Braverman is frustrated at the amount of standardized testing children are being subjected to. “Burdening students and teachers with many more days of testing is counterproductive,” she said. “The testing simply results in lost instructional time and less time devoted to physical education, music and art, which only hurts the children. In addition, the millions and millions of dollars being spent on this testing could better serve the children by actually funding education.”

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