Thursday, April 17, 2014

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City Students Begin New Standardized Testing

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Students completed their first day of state tests Tuesday, though some parents had their children boycott the exams, saying their kids spend too much class time on test preparation.

The two weeks of exams are part of the Common Core program, which the city adopted as part of the Obama Administration's Race to the Top program.

At stake are a school's ranking, bonuses for educators, and whether students move up to the next grade.

Scores on the new tests are expected to drop, as they're designed to be more challenging, as well as to cover material that has not yet been added into the curriculum.

Some parents on the Upper West Side say they are joining families from at least 33 other schools in telling their kids not to take the test.

"We are doing this because we just really are quite fed up with the efforts to have the concentration of test preparation that goes on and on and on, our children are becoming ill, they're anxious, they are talking to us in test speak, they're asking us questions such as; which do you prefer: A, ice cream, B, turkey?" said Cynthia Copeland, a parent.

"I've seen these students in action, I've seen the teachers teaching what's going on in the classrooms now, and it's all part of the core curriculum and the tests are aligned with Common Core," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Education officials say the tests are more challenging and better for students.

It's unclear what consequences would come to students who boycott the test.

The state says schools are required to give the exams and that parents technically are not allowed to opt out.

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