NYC schools: Tests alone won’t decide promotions

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NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s school system will de-emphasize the importance of standardized test scores in deciding which students must repeat a grade, Chancellor Carmen Farina said Wednesday.

Starting this year, teachers and principals will make promotion decisions based on a range of factors including test scores, attendance, writing samples and classroom work, Farina said.

The policy change, which would affect students in grades 3 through 8, must be approved by the Panel for Educational Policy at its May 29 meeting.

The teachers’ and principals’ unions praised the policy change, which supporters said could take the pressure off teachers to “teach to the test.”

standardized tests

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said changing the promotion policy is “just common sense.”

Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan said the change means children will be treated “more humanely.”

Critics worry that the change could leave students ill-prepared for higher grades. Students in jeopardy of being promoted would have to go to summer school, and teachers and principals will review the added criteria to determine if the pupil can move forward.

If approved, the change could end the second round of Common Core testing set to take place in August.

Farina’s announcement comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio — who championed education reform during his campaign — marks 100 days in office, inspiring a look back at his first few months leading the city.