3 LI school districts to try out computer-based tests

Students listen to a lecture on May 1, Students listen to a lecture on May 1, 2013. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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Three Long Island school districts are among more than 100 statewide participating in field tests of a new computer-based system -- one type of electronic exam under development that soon may be required in schools across New York.

Elementary school students in the Garden City and Northport-East Northport school districts are taking part in field tests devised by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, according to the state Department of Education. High school students in the North Shore district are expected to participate in the geometry exams, state officials said.

"We really don't want to test students more, but we realize computer-based and generated tests is the way of the future," said Robert Feirsen, superintendent of the Garden City district. "We wanted to see how that works, and we want to see how the students react to that kind of format."

The Northport-East Northport district administered field tests at the end of March, the Education Department said. The district also is scheduled for end-of-year field tests, which must be administered between May 5 and June 6. Officials there did not return calls for comment.

The North Shore district administered the geometry test the week of April 7 and is scheduled for the geometry end-of-year assessment as well, according to the state. The Garden City district has scheduled its field tests in mid-May.


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Field tests in 14 states

New York is one of 14 states where PARCC, a multistate consortium, is holding field tests this spring. The dry runs are intended to give educators a chance to see how the computer-based exams work, and allow schools to check their readiness for the test in those states that plan to implement it in the 2014-15 school year.