Thu October 3, 2013
Thousands attend forum on student testing
An estimated 2,500 people turned out Wednesday night at Kleinhans Music Hall as stakeholders shared growing concerns over the classroom focus on standardized tests.
The event was sponsored by the Partnership for Smarter Schools, a group which questions the state's increasing array of student tests.
Many say the exams are pointless and don't accomplish the goal of better education for students.
"I'm a lawyer. I had to sit for the bar exam and everyone said boy, that's a lot of pressure and one test makes or breaks you. We're doing that now to third graders. We're telling a third grader it's a make or break," said Assemblyman Sean Ryan.
Ryan says his kids are going through this same avalanche of tests. He says the tests are hurting good schools and good school districts.
Michael Cornell is principal of Amherst Middle School and a member of the partnership. Cornell says part of the problem is that standards aren't standard and test results shift.
"What happens is: the kids all take the test. The state gets all the scores and then they determine where proficiency is after everybody has taken the test."
Cornell says his school, under the new test, has about 50 percent proficient students.