NY standardized testing brings changes for students and options for parents

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The pandemic has brought countless changes to students and teachers alike, and the first week of standardized testing in New York is no exception.

This week, many third through eighth graders are taking their English Language Arts Tests, but some students can’t participate because they’re still remote or their parents have chosen to opt them out of the exams altogether.

“What are the assessments going to actually measure this year? When we talk about a child that’s been remote the entire time or a child, like my son, that’s been in school five days a week.” Kyle Belokopitsky, NYS PTA Executive Director, said.

Belokopitsky decided to refuse standardized assessment for her 6th grade son this year. She said she’s making a statement about the federal government’s decision to reject NYSED, NYSUT, and the NY PTA’s request to waive the tests this year.

“We have still have some school buildings and some school districts that aren’t back at all. Those children have still been remote this entire times. So again, real equity issues,” Belokopitsky said.

New York standardized tests are solely being administered in person. Therefore, that leaves students learning remotely behind unless their parents chose to send them in-person for testing day. But Belokopitsky said there is a silver lining.

“Very happy that SED has really reduced our assesments here in New York to really, I don’t want to say the bare minimum, but it’s the bare minimum,” Belokopitsky said.

Instead of two or three days of standardized testing, students only need to participate in one day this year. Additionally, there are no short or long form answers for them to worry about.

“So they shorten the test to reduce the tests on students. We agree with that decision, but also when you shorten the tests, your not going to get a full picture of what the students know or what they’re able to do,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango said.

DiBrango said these tests are a waste of time because teachers accurately assess students on their own throughout the year.

“Nothing is standardized as far as the instruction and we believe the results will be meaningless because this isn’t a standardized year,” DiBrango said.

NYSUT wants to remind parents that they have the right to decide whether or not their child should take a standardized test up until to day of the exam. However, each school district may be different in what they require to opt out.

According to a statement on NYSUT’s website, “You should check with your school principal or district administrator to find out the process in your district. If the district does not have a standard form, send the principal a letter stating the tests you do not want your child to take part in, and request the district provide a productive alternative activity if your child is attending school in person.” 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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