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NYSED leaders say students should not 'fear failure' in next round of tests

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

As early as next week some students will begin taking another round of tests under the new Common Core Standards.  3rd and 8th grade are scheduled to take the ELA's next week, followed by math next month.

In preparing educators and parents for what to expect the state Education Department issued new information about the assessments.  The tests for students in grades three through eighth will be similar to last years, but will be shorter. 

Deputy Commissioner of Curriculum, Assessment and Educational Technology Ken Wagner said students will be graded on performance levels.

"And then with this year's results, then we go through a process to make sure that the assessments this year are roughly comparable to the assessments last year, so last year's cut scores are still relevant," said Wagner during a conference call on Wednesday.

Those performance levels are one through four -- with one being the lowest of student performance to four -- which is excelling in the standards.

Kristen Huff is with Assessment at the University of the State of New York Regents Research Fund State.

"We're holding that baseline that we set last year constant this year so we can see how student achievement has change compared to last year," said Huff.

State Education leaders said  tests for  students in grades three through 8th will be similar to last years, but will be shorter.

Wagner said students should not 'fear failure' in taking this next round of tests, noting the scores should not be used for high stake decisions for students. Instead they will provide educators, parents and students a measure of progress on the new, rigorous standards.  Still, some parents in Western New York have already warned they will have their child opt in this next round of testing.