Critics: New state testing format too grueling for kids

OLD WESTBURY - Students across New York are getting ready to take state tests designed to measure school performance, but some parents and teachers say the new testing format is just too tough on kids. All third- to eighth-graders in the state had three straight days of English language arts tests last week, with each test lasting 90 minutes. For the next three days, the students will take state math tests that are equally as long, for a total of nine hours of testing. Sean Feeney, principal of the Wheatley School in Old Westbury, says he's heard reports of tremendous anxiety, even vomiting, among students because of the tests. He says the state's Department of Education (DOE) added many "field test" questions to help testing firms design future exams. The tests already measure school and teacher performance, and Feeney says that taken altogether, it's just too much. A DOE spokesman says the state will review the tests with an "eye toward improvement in future years."

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