BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) and Board of Regents are working to ease some of the pandemic stress school families have been dealing with, asking for changes to state testing.
“We really don't need to do this to our kids,” reacted Peter Stuhmiller, president, Kenmore Tonawanda Teachers Association.
Stuhmiller says students and teachers are already struggling with remote learning and should not be forced to stake standardized tests.
But the federal government says assessments must be held this school year.
That’s why NYSED is asking for federal waivers to cancel regents exams and assessments.
“We don't need to have this artificial level of assessment thrown on kids on top of that — we don't think it's good for them — it adds additional stress for parents and frankly it chews up instructional time where we could be doing other things with our kids,” Stuhmiller noted.
But if state ed fails to get those waivers there will still be a reduction in testing. Four regents exams would be administer for high school students:
- Earth Science
- Living Environment
There will be no August 2021 regents.
Those controversial ELA and math assessments for grades 3-8 would be be just one day.
“It would only be the multiple choice section and then the four and eight science exams would the part one of those exams as well,” explained Jolene DiBrango, vice president, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).
DiBrango says teachers union commends state ed for putting students first.
“Why not give families a break?”, Buckley asked.
“We agree that this is adding a layer of stress,” responded DiBrango.
The board also agreed students would not need the regents to graduate, but they must pass their course in order to get their diploma.
“If they can demonstrate to their teachers they’ve been successful within the course that they will receive credit for graduation,” DiBrango explained.
The union says with so much lost in pandemic learning, the testing could only create a false narrative of student performance.
“We don’t need a flawed state assessment to give us that data hen we know that in this particular year — we need to be relying on the teachers that have been with these children all along in helping them,” DiBrango said.
Area educators agree.
“The New York State assessments aren't the only game in town,” declared Michael Cornell, superintendent, Hamburg Central School District.
Cornell says teachers already know where there are learning gaps.
“Those locally designed assessments that teachers create that allow us to understand what a child knows and can do in a particular content area or grade level — those are far better,” described Cornell.
The federal government will review local assessments being submitted by state ed to show how students are measured without mandatory tests.
“Our district knows immediately where the achievement gaps are by grade level, so we have a clear understanding of what we are going to need to do to help kids catch up,” Stuhmiller said.
“These kids take these assessments in April land we get the data — much later later on. It’s not really helpful,” noted Cornell. “As individual assessments of a child’s learning — they’re really not all that good."
“If a child does have WiFi problems and they loose connectivity — do they have a right to take another version — is there another version or do they get a zero,” Stuhmiller.
Educators saying they're gaps reading and math due to remote learning.