Local superintendents’ predictions on the future of state testing

opt out map 2016

For the past few years, parents and educators have rallied against the state’s latest system of so-called high-stakes testing, which ties teacher evaluations to the controversial Common Core standards. Their principal strategy has been the opt-out movement, under which students refuse to take mandated assessment tests.

We asked local school district superintendents for their prediction on the future of state testing:

Mattituck-Cutchogue School District Superintendent Anne Smith

Anne Smith“I believe that NYSED will continue to work with teachers and educators and parents to revise standards and create more appropriate assessments. The testing question is more difficult to predict. It appears that there will be a transition to new assessments with educator input, however, it is unclear as to how the public will view the testing and the purpose of testing. The purpose of the testing remains unclear to the public since it is tied to educator evaluation. It is my hope that the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education will continue to engage leaders and educators, parents and students, as they strive to come up with a better educator evaluation system and student assessments.”

Southold and Greenport school districts’ Superintendent David Gamberg

David Gamberg“My sense is that concerns regarding testing will not diminish. No, I do not advocate for the elimination of testing in schools. However, we must look at the evidence of what testing should look like and how it should be used effectively. If we assembled a panel of the most brilliant minds who have spent a lifetime studying this subject, the overwhelming majority would not advocate that we continue down this path. While the current climate may be averse to civil discussions about how to approach policy considerations, we would be wise to consider looking at what works in education and change course.”

[Related story: Even after compromises, opt-out movement gains steam locally]

Oysterponds School District Superintendent Richard Malone

Richard Malone“If the process is slowed down and we have time to really have teacher input with the design of the tests more, I do see, eventually, the tests serving a purpose in guiding our program and helping us to move what we’re doing in the classrooms forward. It’s always great to have some type of assessment from a program point of view and I would hope that the process slowed down would enable us to have some value to what the testing is and I think once that’s accomplished you’ll see a number of the students back taking the tests.”

Riverhead Central School District Superintendent Nancy Carney

Nancy Carney“Commissioner Elia has a plan that by 2018, all state assessment questions will be developed by teachers. This will ensure that the questions are age appropriate. It is my hope that the state develops a new testing system that carefully and thoughtfully measures students according to their abilities. Having a testing system that imposes the same standard against those who are disabled or those who are new to the English language is not helpful to educators who are seeking to help all students succeed. It is my hope that future assessments will be just one measure to determine students’ growth and ability.”

Click on map above to enlarge. (Credit: Times Review Media Group illustration)