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Schools Boycott Latest Round Of Standardized Testing

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When it comes to standardized testing, students and schools don't usually have a choice. But now, 61 schools across the state, including 47 in New York City, are flat-out refusing to participate in the latest round of tests. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

After two weeks of high-stakes testing in April, third through eighth graders are in the middle of two more weeks of testing.

These tests don't count for the students. They're a chance for the publishing company, Pearson, to try out questions for future tests.

But a growing number of students won't be participating. On Thursday morning, they stood outside Pearson headquarters in Midtown to protest.

Students sold t-shirts and built costumes in honor of a confusing and now infamous question on this year's exam about a talking pineapple.

This year's tests were the first under a five-year, $32 million state contract with Pearson. The pineapple wasn't the only issue, as there were almost 30 different errors, causing some students to puzzle over questions with no correct answer. The exams were also much longer.

Now, dozens of schools statewide are boycotting the field tests.

"She's already taken nine hours of standardized tests over a two-week period," parent Kenneth Barr said about his daughter. "Not one more minute."

"They're just trying to use our brains like we're lab rats," said a third-grade student. "They just want to make more money off of testing and the DOE is allowing this."

Advocates have been working for years to build a movement against high-stakes tests. They say they hope this might be the tipping point.

"Every moment, I get a call that more schools are joining on," said Jane Hirschmann of Time Out From Testing. "So as of this moment, we have a huge boycott going on."

For weeks, Pearson has refused to comment. On Thursday, the company admitted the errors and saying it was working to "address these issues and make sure that none of these problems re-occur."

Pearson called standardized tests "essential" but said it would try to make the process as open and transparent as possible.

The state said it's working with Pearson to improve the tests but said testing isn't going away.

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