Testing is rife at HFCS

Saturday February 2, 2013

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- As part of a new testing regimen occurring because of changing curriculum standards statewide, students at Hoosick Falls Central School have recently been administered many, many tests.

Patrick Dailey, the school's director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment -- a new administrative position created for this school year -- told school board members at their regular January meeting that 2,400 standardized tests had been administered in the high school, with an additional 800 in the elementary.

A state-led effort to establish a single standardized national curriculum, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, has been adopted in 45 states plus the District of Columbia. New York's Board of Regents adopted Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in January 2011.

In the most recent timeline for CCLS implementation, public grade schools in New York are expected to have English Language Arts and math tests for grades 3 through 8 aligned to the common core this year.

Additional Regents exams are expected to be aligned in 2013-14, followed by all standardized exams by 2014-15. The common core is designed to ensure students graduating from high school are prepared for college or the work force.

Speaking as a Hoosick Falls Teachers' Association representative, social studies teacher Chris Farley said the midterm exams were also an important component in teacher evaluations known as Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPRs).

At the Jan. 24 board meeting, Farley said teachers were preparing for their second evaluations of the 2012-13 school year.

Meanwhile, the teachers' union has also begun negotiating a new APPR agreement for the next school year.

While nearly all public school districts met a Jan. 17 deadline for approved APPR agreements -- with the New York City school system a notable exception -- virtually all of those agreements between districts and unions were signed on a one-year basis, including HFCS and neighboring Cambridge Central School to the north.

Negotiations were especially difficult at some districts around the state, particularly given an increased reliance on standardized testing as a performance criteria. But, at least for the initial one-year period, local districts and unions came to agreement well ahead of the state's deadlines.


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