May 2016 Issue
April 22, 2016

NYSUT calls for survey on impact of untimed testing

Author: By Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United

The State Education Department will survey school districts on the impact of SED's decision to eliminate time limits for this year's grades 3–8 assessments.

After NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino pressed SED to gather feedback on the new policy, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced the department would conduct a study. Fortino said it's crucial that any survey include teachers to document the impact at the classroom level.

At the NYSUT RA, delegates approved a special order of business saying the commissioner's new policy on untimed tests violated state law's 1 percent cap on testing.

Delegates called for full implementation of the recommendations of the governor's Common Core Task Force, including a study of the impact of untimed tests and a reduction in the number of testing days.

Fortino, who served on the Common Core Task Force, noted that recommendation #15 calls for SED to "undertake a formal review to determine whether to transition to untimed tests for existing and new state standardized tests aligned to the standards."

At an April Regents committee meeting, Regent Kathleen Cashin said she's received both positive and negative feedback on the new policy.

Some educators have voiced concerns over students spending several hours over the average time each day during the three-day English language arts tests and three-day math tests. Others have praised the new policy, saying it seemed to relieve some of the pressure on students.

Cashin suggested documenting the start and finish times of all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities. "I think we really need to dig in on this," she said.