Print edition: State tests are controversial

COLONIAL SCHOOL – The New York State standardized tests ended in April. That was a vast relief to many students and teachers. But are the tests too harsh and difficult on children?

This year was exceptional as thousands of students throughout New York state opted out of the tests. According to, more than 175,000 students skipped the tests. A few Colonial students were among those not taking the tests.

Some people oppose taking the New York State tests because they feel the exams are too time consuming and they are greatly flawed. Since the English Language Arts and Math tests are split up into three parts each taken across two weeks, the tests take a lot of time out of the curriculum. Many parents and students feel that the tests and the time spent in practice takes away too much learning time. And in the end, their performance is hurt in other subjects such as social studies, art and music.

State tests also determine the teachers’ performance and may affect the school funding and rating.

There are various opinions on this at Colonial School. “I opted out because my mom said that up to 50 percent of a teacher’s grade was based on our scores, and it wasn’t really my test,” Arden Gerhardt (5H) told the Colonial Times.

People who support the tests say that the exams help a person learn what their weaknesses and strengths are so in the coming year they can do better. They also give input to schools, telling educators adjustments they could do in their programs.

Another view is the tests are fair, but there are too many questions.

Mr. Ron Martucci, a fifth grade teacher, said that they’re fair but he thinks if they were shorter and had fewer questions, it would be better.

Catalina Rivera (5M) said, “I thought (the ELA test) wasn’t too easy and wasn’t too hard. There were a little too many questions.” She thought they were fair.

WHO IS THIS?   Zyde () said, “I don’t think we need to do it because I don’t think anyone should see it except your teachers and parents.”

IS THIS A PARENT? Mrs. Sasson said she doesn’t have a problem with the state tests but she would like it better if they were shorter.

“Some kids said it was fair and some said it was challenging,” said Mrs. Tonya Wilson, the principal of Colonial School. “The kids said they worked really hard and they were prepared.”