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New York’s New Untimed Exams Let Students ‘Work Productively’ Until Finished

New York’s New Untimed Exams Let Students ‘Work Productively’ Until Finished

It’s the first year that all students in New York are able to take as much time as they need to finish state exams, but the results have thus far been mixed according to several teachers who spoke to the New York Chalkbeat.

"After three days of English testing, teachers say the absence of a time limit bolstered the confidence of some students, but it also presented some new logistical and behavior challenges,” said the Chalkbeat.

Students at The Equity Project Charter School in Washington Heights who needed more time were ushered into separate rooms to complete their exams, resulting in a smooth process. In Emolior Academy in the South Bronx, however, students were forced to wait in the classroom for one student who needed an extra hour to finish his exam, resulting in tension and additional pressure for that student.

The city had released a memo prior to the beginning of exams for how administrators should best handle students who wanted to use the extra time they are now allotted.

"The city encouraged seating students likely to work beyond the recommended testing window together, for example, and suggested putting students with testing accommodations in separate rooms. To manage students who didn’t take more time, the city recommended that schools escort students to other rooms, if possible, or have the students silently read books in testing rooms,” the article said.

Several teachers told the Chalkbeat that the extra time left them scrambling to find rooms for students who had finished in the suggested amount of time, and that the extra time significantly disrupted the flow of the day including lunch schedules.

However, another teacher also said he witnessed “fewer tears” this time around. Special education teacher Mark Anderson said the lack of a time limit helped students feel less pressure when not able to finish in the suggested time.

The move to allow exams to be untimed is just one of the changes New York made to its exams this year in order to win back the trust of communities after unprecedented opt-out numbers last year. 

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/8/2016

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