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Local News

October 3, 2013

State eases rules on school remediation

(Continued)

“The tests shouldn’t punish anyone,” he said.

Julie Miller is a parent of three students in the Sidney district — a third, seventh, and tenth grader. She said she understood the lower scores the first year because teachers may not have realized what the format was. But she felt students should have had a chance to have another year of experience before intervention requirements are reduced.

At Unadilla Valley Central School, Superintendent Robert Mackey said having the flexibility is important. He said his district is still exploring the decisions impact on instruction and students. He didn’t have a full accounting of how many students would be affected but he said nearly 75 percent of students in grades four and five would have otherwise qualified for AIS. That’s the average in many other grades, he said.

With work on the new curriculum, it’s been difficult to provide these services he said, and while the tests are important, the real focus is making sure students graduate on time and are ready for success in college or the job market. That effort runs from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and with rates of about 90 percent, “our teachers are doing the right thing,” he said.

The standardized tests are one of many indicators of student success used by a school-wide program that analyzes data to make sure each student stays on track and learns all year long, he said.

Afton Central School Superintendent Elizabeth Briggs said the test was so different than those given in previous years that in some grades “we had almost everybody (in AIS).” She didn’t have specific numbers, but said some flexibility could be helpful.

“We were surprised by how different the tests were,” she said.

Delaware Academy Central School Superintendent Jason Thomson said the district is providing AIS to those who need it, while working to interpret the new state decision.

He didn’t have numbers on students affected by the change, but said the the adjustment will probably keep numbers stable.

The decision shows “the state is willing to work with school districts. We are all in this together,” he said. While the testing system may not be perfect, “working together, we will get it right.”

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