Massapequa School Board Passes Second Resolution on Testing

School board acts after criticism of November resolution.

Massapequa School Board President Gary Bennett photo: Edward Robinson
Massapequa School Board President Gary Bennett photo: Edward Robinson
For the second time in a month, the Massapequa Board of Education has passed a resolution asking state officials to reconsider its policy on testing.

At its meeting last week the board unanimously passed the second resolution, which officials say will supplement, not replace, the one passed in November.

That first resolution met with disapproval from those in attendance at the meeting, particularly over a passage that read, "The Massapequa School District's Board of Education is required to comply with New York State Law and regulation, and as such cannot condone test refusal since it agrees that assessment is an integral component of test integrity."

The second resolution goes into far more detail about what the board feels are the shortcomings of the Common Core Standards reliance on testing.

Here are some highlights of the resolution:

"Since 2010, the average time for Grades 3-8 testing has dramatically increased, causing frustration for students, parents and teachers."
"With little or no lead time, and with resources that were incomplete or unavailable, we were required to begin implementation last year.  In addition, our children were expected to sit for examinations that they were not fully prepared to take.  To compound the issue, connecting teacher evaluation to student test performance, as dictated by the new APPR regulation, has caused distress to professionals who have consistently demonstrated strong performance. "

"Some of the test questions that appeared on the assessments were ambiguous and developmentally inappropriate.  In many cases, teachers and administrators could not agree on the correct answers to certain questions in both ELA and Mathematics.  It has been reported that identical passages and questions appeared on more than one test and at more than one grade level. 

School Board President Gary Bennett said the new resolution was based on one he had written up while the board was looking at the one passed in November. 

After the criticism of that resolution ensued, Bennett said he "spoke to many, many" people in the community and decided to revisit the issue.

Bennett said he'd been concerned that the community might not realize that only the state has the power to change testing policy.

But he discovered the public knew that, but "wanted the school board to understand their unhappiness with testing."

The school board president said that the resolution only deals with testing, not curriculum, saying, "Our Superintendent is aware there are very good parts to common core," but Bennett added, "It needs a lot of attention in Albany."

The resolutions, which are similar to others passed around Long Island and the rest of the state, and Bennett says he's been given authority to write letters on the district's behalf to state lawmakers.


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