New Your State School Boards Association

College Board: Hands off our instructional days!

On Board Online • March 16, 2015

By Jay Matuk

With only an average of 180 instructional days available to schools in New York State, it is a challenge for principals like me to ensure that maximum classroom time is devoted to instruction. Building and district leaders are constantly confronting external demands that compromise class time.

A recent case in point: I just received a piece of correspondence from the College Board about changes in PSAT test dates. This year, testing periods will be during the school day and will not include the traditional Saturday morning testing time. This will affect thousands of schools that voluntarily serve as testing centers across the nation.

School administrators object because the PSAT will take away three hours of instructional time from many 10th- and 11th-graders on two Wednesdays, Oct. 14 and Oct. 28. Due to issues of available testing space, schools that serve as testing sites will also have to choose between modifying the length of the school day or closing entirely to accommodate testing.

The College Board plans to return to having three test days, including a Saturday, in 2016. This year is different because The College Board is rolling out a redesigned PSAT and, according to reports, didn't have time or resources to provide a third October testing date.

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