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Calls for ‘Opting-In’ Spread through New York | Collaborative for Student Success
Despite concerted opt-out campaigns, parents, civil-rights leaders and media outlets throughout New York are encouraging students to participate in student assessments. “Take the damn tests,” a New York Daily News editorial urges, noting state officials have made significant changes to testing policy to address concerns. “Assessments are vital in measuring learning,” the New York Post editorializes. “They provide critical feedback about students, teachers and schools.” The New York Times reports many parents are opting in. In Manhattan’s Public School 124, no students refused to take state tests. “Tests figure out the level of the students,” one parent explains. Reverend Al Sharpton also encouraged parents not to opt out, noting the results “show the gap between education in some areas and others.” High Achievement New York recently launched a #SayYesToTheTest campaign to send “a simple message to parents across New York: this year’s tests are shorter, fairer, stronger—and parents should ‘yes to test’ for their children.”

New York Chancellor Should Support State Assessments | Buffalo News
Newly elected chancellor of the New York Board of Regents Betty Rosa’s pledge to ensure all students receive a quality education is at odds with her previous opposition to statewide assessments, write Sam Radford and Jason Zwara of High Achievement New York. “Test results are the only way we can compare an inner-city student to a suburban one, or low-income children in Buffalo to higher-income children elsewhere,” the piece explains. “The tests are how educators make sure that no child, and no city, is allowed to fall through the cracks.” Many across New York are calling for parents to “opt-in” to student assessments. Last year Karen Nussle pointed out, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career…For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

Correcting the Record:


Stick a Fork in Common Core—It’s Done | The Federalist
“Common Core is dead,” proclaims Joy Pullman, a research fellow at the Heartland Institute and an outspoken opponent of Common Core State Standards. “It’s already clear this education monstrosity is eking out its last gasps.” The standards, Pullman argues, force students into “centrally planned, academically low-quality, and one-size-fits-all mandates.” Pullman’s claim ignores that states are overwhelmingly rejecting baseless criticism and continuing to build on the Common Core framework. Here is where she gets it wrong:

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U.S. Department of Education Releases Draft ESSA Testing Regulations | Education Week
Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education released draft regulations governing testing policy and “supplement-not-supplant” spending. The provisions require in part that computer-adaptive tests be able to determine whether a student is at grade level; states have to show that all students have the opportunity to be prepared for and take advanced math in middle school; and school districts can substitute a “nationally recognized test” for state exams. The article provides a closer look at the proposed rules as well as links to the information provided by the Department of Education.

Alaska Calls Off Student Testing | Alaska Public Media
Officials in Alaska canceled the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP) assessment for students statewide after connectivity problems to a server in Kansas. A construction worker severed a fiber optic cable at the University of Kansas causing the problems. The vendor, Achievement and Assessment Institute, made repairs, but the platforms then crashed several times, forcing many students to restart the tests. Only eight and five percent of students completed the ELA and math portions, respectively. About 70,000 students were expected to take the exams. Alaska did not adopt Common Core State Standards, so its assessments are not aligned.

Tennessee to Shorten TNReady amid Widespread Complaints about Over-Testing | Chalkbeat Tennessee
Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Monday the state will reduce the number of hours students spend taking TNReady assessments next year. The State Department of Education will streamline the English language arts portion and scrap part of the math component. “We’ve always maintained we had two goals: strengthen content and reduce testing time,” McQueen said. The changes come before the completion of the TNReady assessments first administration this year.

Tired of School Testing, Georgia Cuts Back | Atlanta Journal Constitution
Before the end of the legislative session, Georgia lawmakers passed two bills aimed at reducing the number of state-mandated student assessments. Governor Nathan Deal hasn’t indicated whether he will sign the bills. In Cherokee County, Superintendent Brian Hightower suspended some of the tests the district had previously required. “When students are filled with anxiety instead of being excited about showing off new-found skills and knowledge, there’s a problem,” Hightower said. “These suspensions are a first step.”