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Full Regents board approves 4-year test-score moratorium

Members of the state Board of Regents meet

Members of the state Board of Regents meet in Albany on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Credit: Hans Pennink

The full Board of Regents on Tuesday approved a four-year moratorium on the use of student scores on Common Core state tests to evaluate job performances by teachers and principals.

The vote was 15 to 1, with one member absent. Another vote in February will finalize the regulation.

Chancellor Merryl Tisch cast the dissenting vote, as she had Monday, when a board committee approved the moratorium as an “emergency regulation.” In Tuesday’s vote, however, she dissented without comment.

Under the new regulation, educators still would get annual “growth” scores from Albany based on results of state tests given during the moratorium, but the scores would be advisory. They would not be used to decide which teachers and principals are assigned improvement plans or fired.

The proposal to clamp a four-year hold on using student “growth” scores on Common Core tests in evaluating teachers was advanced just last Thursday by an advisory task force appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The Regents committee on P-12 education’s vote Monday — an abrupt about-face in policies pushed by Cuomo and the board in recent years — was the latest in a series of state responses to rising public opposition to Albany’s direction on school curricula, testing and educator evaluations.

It came after a cascade of dissent from parents and teachers, steadily growing since tests aligned with the Common Core academic standards were introduced into classrooms in the 2012-13 school year and since the state toughened its evaluation laws, with an increasing share of educators’ job ratings linked to student performance on exams.

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