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Board Members Support Less Testing For Eighth-Graders

School board members in New York overwhelmingly support eliminating double-testing of eighth-graders in math, according to a new poll by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

 

Eighty-four percent of board members believe the state should seek a waiver from the federal government to allow eighth-grade students who take the Regents Algebra 1 exam to skip the regular eighth-grade math test. Twelve percent of respondents believe the state should not seek a waiver, while 4 percent were not sure.

 

Currently, eighth-grade students who take accelerated math are required by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to take both the Regents Algebra 1 exam and the grade 8 mathematics exam. The state Board of Regents has authorized the state education commissioner to ask the USDOE for a waiver from the requirement. 

 

“School board members are wary of the amount of testing in New York,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “Waiving the requirement that certain eighth-graders take two math exams would be a commonsense move.”  

 

New York school board members are also strongly in favor of the state requesting a waiver from USDOE that would allow students with severe disabilities to be tested based on their instructional level rather than chronological age. Ninety-four percent of board members responding to the poll supported this action, while 3 percent did not and another 3 percent were not sure.

 

Board members were less enthusiastic about a waiver that would allow English language learners in grades 3-8 to take foreign language proficiency tests rather than English proficiency tests. One-third of respondents said the state should seek a waiver, but 52 percent said the state should not, and 15 percent were not sure.  

 

Results are based on an informal NYSSBA Pulse Poll of school board members conducted in November 2013. The three-question poll drew between 679 and 718 responses, depending on the question.

 

—New York State School Boards Association