Centre Superintendent Dr. William Johnson and Assistant Superintendent
Christopher Pelletieri both said they were “disturbed” by the results of
the recent New York State assessment tests.
said at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting that the assessments
themselves were problematic and didn’t actually test what the students
knew, but rather what they didn’t know.
“It’s going to tell us nothing,” he said. “We can’t learn from what this data is going to show us.”
his report, Pelletieri said that the length of the English and math
exams were one of the biggest problems. Fifth-grade students were
responsible for answering 72 questions over the course of three days -- a
total of 540 minutes worth of testing.
can pass the bar [exam] in New York State by taking an exam and sitting
one time for 375 minutes,” Pelletieri said, chastising the state for
what he felt was excessive testing for elementary students.
assistant superintendent said that a majority of students who took the
exam “lost steam.” He said students who scored well early on fell off
toward the end due to the length of the exam.
Another obstacle for students was “field questions” that were added throughout the exam, Pelletieri said.
field questions were designed for students to answer questions off of
exams from the grade ahead of them. The answers -- whether right or
wrong -- were not a part of the final score, but rather just for the
state to assess.
According to Pelletieri, the field questions -- like the length of the exam -- caused students to struggle.
kind knocks you off your feet, knocks you back a little bit,” he said.
“… So you spend an inordinate amount of time on what might be a field
question that’s not going to count on your overall score and you need to
recover and go back on to the questions that are for your grade level.”
said that scoring for the exam in the past was usually consistent for
all students, but this year it was “all over the place” because the
questions themselves were all over the place in terms of rigor and
was, without a doubt, disturbed by my eight or nine days of scoring of
these assessments,” he said. “... If the goal was to tell us that our
kids are not college and career ready in the third grade, they spent a
lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of tears and a lot of effort to
figure that out.”
Johnson confirmed that more than 300 students opted out of the exams.
is quite frankly somewhat unclear as to what the state is going to do
about that,” Johnson said, adding that the results would not affect next
year’s instructional program.