19 Aug 2014
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New City Standardized Tests Begin Today

Chancellor Walcott says tests will be more challenging, but Alliance for Quality Education says city should focus more on learning.

New City Standardized Tests Begin Today
Students across the five boroughs will begin taking new – and more challenging - standardized tests today, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said.

 The new tests adhere to national standards known as Common Core, which Walcott said will equip students with skills they need to succeed in college and careers.

 “With time and hard work, I have full confidence that our students will rise to the challenge that the standards represent,” Walcott said. “A high school diploma is no longer enough to qualify for good jobs in the 21st century. Our students need to graduate high school with strong writing and problem-solving skills.”

Under Common Core standards, students will be required to write more, think critically and defend their ideas, Walcott said. The tests are aimed at public school students in grades three through eight.

Since 2010, the city has spent $125 million to train teachers and provide resources for the transition to Common Core. Currently, the city is placing posters in 2,000 subway cars to notify parents of the new tests as well as placing a monthly newspaper known as Public School Press in community papers as an insert.

Billy Easton, executive director for the Alliance for Quality Education, said many parents believe that the city is focusing too much effort on testing, rather than learning, in the classroom.

“It is not difficult to understand why growing numbers of parents around the country are choosing to have their children opt out of testing,” he said. “Too often our state and federal policy makers have confused testing with teaching. In New York, test standards have been raised, but the state has failed in providing the curriculum and resources necessary to prepare students for these rigorous tests. Raising the quality of education is the right idea, but simply making the tests harder does not accomplish the goal.”

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