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Controversial state tests could impact student & schools

February 27, 2018 07:31 PM

Controversial high stakes tests for New York students could soon start impacting schools and students, whether they take the tests or not.
 
New federal rules could suddenly add thousands of failures to the test scores.

For years, tens of thousands of students across the state have opted out of  the annual English and math proficiency tests for students in grades 3 through 8.

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Now, brand new federal standards state that schools have to count those students as if they did take the tests.

"The proficiency would drop a lot," said Stephen Sigmund, the executive director of High Achievement New York. "So, a lot of districts would go from being either above average or high performing to below average and low performing."

A new breakdown of test scores indicates that some of the districts considered highest performing in the Rochester area would suddenly see their rankings plummet, and could start to appear as under performing schools.

In the past, New York State has let school districts exclude the non-scores of students who didn't take the tests and average the rest. But under the U.S. Education Department's new take on the Every Student Succeeds Act, students who opt out will count as failing.

Parents who considered the tests an unwanted intrusion, and opted their kids out, now call this bullying.
 
"It's going to look like schools are failing," said Sherry Johnson, the executive director of the  Monroe County School Board Association "So, you're going to get back into that whole model of you're punishing the schools for decisions that are made outside the education realm." 

The new standards could have an effect way beyond the schools, the students and their families.

Tonight on News10NBC at 11, we'll look into how the changes could affect property values for homeowners who don't even have kids.

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