State's test-prep efforts get an F

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School administrators and teachers across the state said that students were unprepared to meet those standards. No one, they said, had time to adequately prepare children, given that Common Core represents a wholesale overhaul of the state’s ELA and math curricula.

Teachers, who were trained under very different standards, said they themselves did not entirely understand Common Core. Now we see the results of the state’s rush to implement the standards. Across New York, the passing rate on the K-8 ELA and math exams hovered in the 30 percent range, prompting state and local officials, including Education Commissioner John King, to release a slew of statements in a vain attempt to quell parents’ furor. Their replies to anxious parents and students, many of whom say they are beginning to break under the weight of continuous high-stakes testing, were simply inadequate.

State officials are calling the results of this year’s exams a “baseline.” That is, they gave educators a sense of where students are, and where they need to go from here. Apparently they have a long way to go.

Sadly, the state did little this past year to help teachers and parents prepare for the new standards, beyond warning that they were coming, according to school administrators and teachers across the South Shore. The state set up to help inform educators about the standards and what they can do to implement them. Beyond a litany of goals and objectives, however, there is little on the website to help educators achieve them. The state provides a library of short video clips of sample lessons that teachers have taught according to the new standards. But is this training?

And there was next to nothing for parents, who, we believe, should play a vital role in their children’s education. In the past, parents at least knew what state tests looked like. They had sample tests from past years that they could easily obtain from the Education Department’s website or from privately published study guides. This year there was nothing of the sort, only vague notions of what the new tests might look like.

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