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Local News

April 19, 2013

Area educators: New N.Y. tests much tougher

A shift in state standardized testing began this week in area schools. Administration for English Language Arts tests for students in grades 3 through 8 ran Tuesday through Thursday, and the same schedule will be used for math tests next week.

The tests are the first state tests based on the common core standard curriculum that New York is now sharing with most states.

While area school officials said the tests may have been harder that previous exams, most said they seemed to go well. The tests won’t affect student averages, but the scores will be used to determine whether individual students are meeting the standards or need additional help. They will also be part of teacher assessments, officials said.

According to state Education Department officials, families and teachers should be prepared to see lower scores as a result of the the transition to the new standards.

Delaware Academy Central School Superintendent Jason Thomson said standardized tests play an important role in providing schools a way to measure where students stand. The tests are part of “a new system that is evolving,” he said.

At first glance, it’s more difficult that in the past, he said, and some students didn’t finish. However, Delaware Academy worked with several other school districts to prepare with the best available test information.

“We’ve been preparing for almost two years,” using the information to mirror what to expect in our local tests, he said, adding that work by staff and administrators was important in the smooth performance.

“The results will tell us what has worked” and give teachers a barometer on individual students to improve in the future, he said. “I have not heard of any problem. I’m hopeful we’ll perform well, but we’ll use the information to continue to improve.”

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