CONTACT: Al Marlin
Nearly three-quarters of school board members responding to a recent online poll by the New York State School Boards Association believe the reduction in the number of testing days for the state’s grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and math exams is positive for their school districts.
Starting this year, the number of testing days for both the state’s grades 3-8 ELA and math exams was reduced from three days to two. Of the 548 poll respondents, 73 percent believe the shorter testing timeframe was "generally positive" for their district. Seven percent said the change was "generally negative," while 15 percent believe it had no impact. Another 6 percent indicated they were not sure.
"The overwhelming support for fewer testing days likely is recognition on the part of school board members that fewer testing days means more class time," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.
The poll also asked school board members if they supported the use of computer-based testing for the state grades 3-8 ELA and math assessments. A little more than half (51 percent) supported computer-based testing, compared with 33 percent who opposed it and 17 percent who were not sure. The poll was conducted after glitches in the April computer-based ELA tests meant some students had trouble downloading the exams as well as completing and submitting them.
More than 600 New York schools will be testing students on computers this year. The switch to computer-based testing was implemented to get test results back to educators sooner.
School board members were also asked what they thought would be the best strategy for handling students who refuse to take the tests. Forty-eight percent said students should be allowed to engage in instructional activities away from the testing site. Twenty-seven percent indicated that students should be allowed to read quietly at their desks at the testing site. Five percent believe students should only be permitted to sit quietly at their desks at the testing site, while 6 percent said students should be allowed to stay home with parental permission. About 13 percent of respondents selected "other" as an answer choice.
The poll is not a scientific sampling of school board members nor do the poll results represent official positions of the New York State School Boards Association.