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January 11, 2019
Newark’s rush to create new magnet-school admissions test is raising eyebrows. Here’s what you need to know.
Newark students will take a new high-stakes test next month. Big questions remain about how the test will be used and why it's necessary.
January 8, 2019
Newark delays launch of new magnet-school admissions test by a month
Eighth-graders were originally scheduled to take the admissions test this week before officials postponed it until February.
A Look at the Legacy
December 15, 2015
As Tennessee finishes its Race to the Top, teachers caught in the middle of competing changes
Teachers grapple with the competing threads in Race to the Top's legacy: higher-stakes tests and a push for richer instruction.
November 13, 2015
De Blasio faces questions about class size, discipline, and testing at town hall
Members of the public grilled the mayor on crowded classes and school discipline during a two-hour-plus education forum Thursday night.
February 3, 2015
City charter school CEO to senators: Testing has its place
A city charter school leader told a group of U.S. senators Tuesday that there is value in testing students throughout the year if the focus is on progress, not just proficiency.
January 28, 2014
Fariña says she “draws the line” when kids get sick over tests
During her testimony in front of a state budget committee today, Chancellor Carmen Fariña gave a window into her thoughts on test anxiety, citing…
June 7, 2012
Brandishing pineapples, parents and students target Pearson
Weeks of awareness-raising by groups alarmed by an extra round of state tests this year culminated in a mass protest against the test-maker’s Midtown headquarters…
April 20, 2012
"Hare and Pineapple" test item scrapped amid media attention
State education officials said this afternoon that they're tossing out six questions related to the now-famous "Hare and the Pineapple" passage that appeared this week on the state's eighth grade English exams. In a statement, Commissioner John King said that due to the "ambiguous nature of the test questions" from the passage, students wouldn't be penalized – or awarded – points on the final scoring of the exams. But King also defended the passage, saying it wasn't as confusing as it has been presented publicly so far. King, who appeared in Brooklyn this afternoon at Clara Barton High School to hear from students enrolled in a medical pathways program that partners with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, offered another reason the tests weren't counting. "The questions make much more sense in the context of the full passage than the excerpts that folks have seen," King said. "But given the press coverage we won't be able to use those particular questions."
March 20, 2012
City's accountability czar fields criticism at forum about testing
About 200 people attended a forum in Brooklyn Monday night about high-stakes testing. The architect of many of the metrics the city uses to assess teachers and measure student growth spent Monday evening defending his work against a steady stream of criticism from parents and educators. Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky sat on a three-person panel titled "High-Stakes Testing 101" hosted at The Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies and The Brooklyn New School. The panel included two principals, Long Island's Sean Feeney and Elijah Hawkes formerly of the James Baldwin School in Manhattan, who have publicly criticized the city's and state's use of testing data to measure student growth and evaluate teacher effectiveness. Hawkes was one of about 170 city principals to sign on to a petition Feeney authored against the state's use of student test scores in teacher evaluations. That system, in which student growth on standardized test scores count for at least 20 percent of teacher ratings, was officially signed into law last week in Albany. Polakow-Suransky said the parents and principals were right to have qualms about the new system. He said the tests currently in use are imperfect and acknowledged, as the principals' protest points out, the evaluation system allows for scenarios in which a teacher can have the full confidence of her principal yet still be rated ineffective if her students show zero growth. "I agree with you that principals should not ever be in this situation where ultimately their judgment gets trumped by a mechanistic formula," Polakow-Suransky said after Feeney raised the issue. "I think that's an important thing that we need to look at as we work to implement this." But for the most part, the department's second in command defended the city's accountability system against concerns that test scores are being used inappropriately and that longer tests are negatively affecting schools' curriculum and culture.
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