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Scarsdale Board Of Ed Seeks Alternative Assessments

The Scarsdale Board of Education continues to press for alternative methods to standardized testing.
The Scarsdale Board of Education continues to press for alternative methods to standardized testing. Photo Credit: File

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Scarsdale School District and Board of Education continues to prioritize the implementation of the Annual Professional Performance Review regulations to find an alternative to what it views as high-stakes standardized testing.

The district is in the process of deciding whether to endorse a proposed resolution from the Westchester Putnam School Board Association on standardized testing. Members of the school board have said such tests are a drain on student and faculty time, with results that have limited meaning.

The association's proposal asks Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Education Commissioner John King, the state legislature and the Board of Regents to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment that does not require standardized testing. The association and its supporters said this would more accurately reflect a broad range of student learning that can be used to support students and school districts.

Furthermore, the proposed resolution calls on the federal government to overhaul the “No Child Left Behind Act” to reduce testing mandates and to promote different forms of evidence to prove student learning and school quality.

Those who support the resolution say standardized testing has narrowed the curriculum, forced instructors to "teach to the test," reduced the love of learning and undermines the school climate. By limiting or eliminating these tests, it will allow schools to creatively instruct to each individual and not to an exam, supporters say.

In a proposed letter drafted by the school board, it vows to continue to provide an innovative education that will prepare students for the rest of their lives.

“We remain committed to providing our students with a deep, rich education; assessing and improving teaching and treating standardized test scores cautiously, and in combination with other information and letting scores take care of themselves,” the letter said.”[The district] remains committed to local excellence, but just as much to quality education across our state and nation. All our futures are bound together.”

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