Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 23478
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 - 6:16 pm: ||
New test dates upset districts
School calendars need tinkering for May 2010 standardized exam
By SCOTT WALDMAN, Albany (NY) Times Union Staff writer
July 1, 2009
The State Education Department has decided to push back standardized test dates next year, and some school officials are not happy about it.
This year, the English Language Arts exams were given in January and math was administered in March.
The Board of Regents announced last week that students in grades 3 to 8 will take both tests in May 2010.
The late notice upset school districts because they have to entirely reconfigure their calendars. It also could mean a rescheduling of teacher conferences, said Caroline Boardman, spokeswoman for the Troy school district.
"Events and activities may have to be shuffled around at the last minute," she said.
Though there are some objections, most districts are in favor of shifting the exams, said Alan Ray, the department's assistant commissioner for policy.
The decision to shift the exam was based on surveys of school officials, who indicated they would prefer the tests to be administered later, Ray said. Teachers will have more time to prepare their students, he said. He said both exams would be administered at the beginning of May, though the exact dates will be released later this month.
About 70 percent of school officials indicated in the surveys that they would like the exams to be administered at least a month apart.
School board members across the state are concerned the change is being implemented too quickly and that it would be better to wait a year, said Timothy Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. It also might hold up the printing of district calendars.
One of the drawbacks for educators is that they no longer will have the opportunity to use the tests to identify struggling students since the tests are at the end of the year, he said.
The new schedule also will avoid weather-related issues, such as the snowstorm that interrupted Regents exams in January, Kremer said.
Still, he expects that most districts will readily adapt to the new testing dates and will not be adversely affected by the change.
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 22592
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 10:06 pm: ||
Help a Principal Get Creative with Scheduling
Marc Cohen / ASCD In Service blog
April 20, 2009
The problem here is that everyone has to be in the same place at the same time. It's no way to run a school in the 21st century. We need schools for The 21st Century Student, where students can study their subjects anytime, any day, anyplace.
For the last few years, my school has experimented with a rotating 7 period schedule. (If today is period 1-2-3-4-5, then tomorrow is period 6-7-1-2-3 and so on . . . you get the point).
Teachers, students, and parents love the schedule. The idea of classes meeting at different times of the day has been embraced as the biggest plus--gone is the dreaded last period of the day (every day) class that we have all experienced.
For me, it's a bit of a nightmare because it makes hiring part-time teachers nearly impossible, and if I want to send 8th graders to the local high school in the morning to take a course too advanced to be taught in my building (i.e. I have four students ready for Algebra 2), it can be hard to work it into this rotating schedule.
Still, the benefits have outweighed the costs thus far, so we're sticking with it and dealing with the problems. Are any of you doing anything creative or different with your master schedule? I'd love to hear some fresh ideas. Remember that what is old hat for you may be completely foreign to me so please just throw out some ideas that you know have worked for kids.
Submitted by 2009 Outstanding Young Educator Marc Cohen, principal at of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Germantown, Md.