Common Core education testing time shortened

Jun 13, 2017

Next spring, New York's students will spend two days on standardized math and English tests instead of three. The State Board of Regents has approved the change and will vote Tuesday to make it official.

The state's test system has become increasingly divisive, with around 20 percent of students in the test groups refusing to take them - or opting out.

There have been so many changes in the tests in recent years, it is hard to compare them from year to year. The scores also arrive so long after the tests were taken, school districts complain they are not much value working with individual kids.

Regent Catherine Fisher Collins said there are real concerns among the Regents about the tests and what they show.

"That's what we want to get from the testing. We don't want to just be testing the test, spending time having kids sit there to take a test that doesn't mean anythin," Fisher Collins said. "So we want to spend some time on whether or not we're getting the results that we want. We want to know if the kid is really learning the material."

Fisher Collins said Regents want more taught in the classrooms than just what is needed to pass the tests. She said parents are very concerned and tell her directly about those concerns.

"I hope it's more than just teaching to the test, that the kids are really internalizing the information and is able to pass it on as they move through the curriculum," she said. "Teaching to the test is something that it's just regurgitating  of information that we already know that the kids know the information to."

Last year, the Regents reduced the number of test questions and took away time limits to try to ease opposition to the assessments, which are given in grades three through eight. Reducing testing sessions is meant to further that goal.

Regents are to formally vote on the change Tuesday and it will take effect in the spring.