New state tests hope to prevent massive opt-outs

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Thousands of students in grades 3-8 across Long Island Wednesday took the new English language arts state tests under a new series of rules.

This year, the number of testing days had been cut from three to two. There were also fewer questions and the test was not timed.

The state Education Department made the changes in hopes of reducing the number of students who opt out.

Jeanette Deutermann, a leader in the opt-out movement on Long Island, said the changes are minimal and the tests are basically the same-old Common Core.

Last year, more than 200,000 students statewide opted out of taking standardized tests. Opt-out activists said the tests do not accurately measure student achievement and that far too much class time is devoted to test preparation and test-taking.

“These tests are created and setting up kids to fail them,” said Deutermann.

Deutermann said 52 percent of students on Long Island did not take the state tests last year.

Pam Pascalli's said her 9-year-old son took the test Wednesday and didn't have a problem with it.

“I couldn't find a good enough reason to opt him out,” she said. “I honestly think the more tests they take, the better off, the more prepared they are going [to be.]”

It’s not yet clear how many students opted out of the ELA tests this week. The state math exams begin May 1.

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