ALBANY -- New York is cutting the number of days that students have to take standardized exams each spring amid ongoing criticism of the tougher testing.
The state Board of Regents on Monday announced the tests will be conducted over two days instead of three days for students in grades three through eight in each English and math.
The changes will start next spring, and the move is the latest step by the state Education Department to address concerns about the tests. About 20 percent of students have opted out of the exams each year in protest to the Common Core testing standards.
“The Regents have taken a bold step forward today,” Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said in a statement. “This decision not only reduces the amount of time children will spend taking tests, but also returns valuable instructional time to our teachers. We will make certain the tests continue to provide a valid and reliable measurement of student achievement.”
The Regents has been contemplating the change since last year, and initially said it would retain the six days of testing in the 2017-18 school year, which starts in September.
But Elia said she is still hearing concerns from parents and teachers about the exams, and the Education Department worked with the Board of Regents to make the change for 2018. So now the testing will be four days total.
“The Regents and I continue to listen to the concerns of parents and teachers and to make additional adjustments to the grades 3-8 exams,” Elia said in a statement.
Last year, the Education Department reduced the number of questions and reading passages on the exams. It also lifted a time limit on taking the exams.
The changes appeared to lower the number of opts out this spring, and the state continues to make revisions to the national Common Core standards implemented four years ago.
New York is even dumping the Common Core name: It's now the The Next Generation English Language Arts and Mathematics Learning Standards.
"Today's decision is another important step in our efforts to deliver a rigorous testing regime that is responsive to the public’s concerns,” Elia said.
Education officials said going from six to four days for the exams reduces scoring time for teachers and helps districts switch to computer-based testing.
The Board of Regents said it plans to adopt a series of other testing reforms at its meeting in July, with the goal of having a complete overhaul of the assessments in place by September 2020.