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Hudson Valley parents rip excess school testing
Another round of field tests in New York's public schools has parents again shouting that their students should not be used as guinea pigs for a private test company.
State education department test development contractor NCS Pearson Inc. is gauging the validity of its questions this week by giving sample tests to students in 559 schools statewide. Last spring, a similar field test by parents, spurred local parents in many school districts to sign their kids up to boycott and hold a Westchester rally against high-stakes testing.
Bedford Central Schools Superintendent Jere Hochman said a handful of parents in his district have responded to a letter about the tests, saying their kids would opt out. Hochman noted that field testing is an age-old practice in education, though he couldn't recall another year in which stand-alone tests were given in the fall.
While Hochman believes field testing is necessary to assure questions are valid, he does believe that testing has become too frequent.
"It's part of a bigger picture of excessive testing across the board," Hochman said. "It's taking far too much time out of valuable class days and out of teacher days to scores tests ... It's pretty much driving the train of curriculum and pedagogy and it's supposed to be the other way around."