If you have kids, we sure hope they like taking tests. Not only do they face regular tests in classes, but the city is set to expand their regimen of periodic tests for the 1.1 million students in the city's public schools. The tests, which the city is paying $80 million over five years for, will be administered 5 times a year for students in the grades 3-8 and four times a year for high schoolers. Students in the 3-8th grades are only taking periodic tests 3 times a year now, while high school students don't take them at all. While the tests currently cover only math and English, they will be expanded to include science and social studies. The new system will also allow for faster feedback on student performance and for administrators to track teacher and student progress.
The periodic tests are supposed to help teachers single out which students need more help before the annual state exams, which are used to gauge a school's performance for the federal No Child Left Behind law. Naturally, there are some that worry that students will be subject to too many tests. The president of the UFT, Randi Weingarten, told The Times that teachers are already using one day a week for test prep and that "You’re spending a lot of time doing test prep and doing paperwork associated with test prep instead of teaching."
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said, "I don't think it means more pressure. I think it means more learning." Clearly, it's been a long time since Chancellor Klein took a test! The new tests are designed to fit into a 45-minute class and will start this fall.