Some Ny Schools Receive Incomplete Math Tests

05.02.14 | Bill Price

An unknown number of New York schools Thursday received incomplete versions of a statewide math test for third graders and could force some students to finish up the exam next week.

Portions of the standardized test were omitted for some schools, an error that appears to have been caused by a “printing issue,” a spokesman for the state Education Department said Thursday. The tests are printed by the department in Albany.

It’s not clear how many school districts received the incomplete tests, according to Tom Dunn, the spokesman. The printing error was limited to some copies of one of four versions of the exam, which was administered to third graders beginning Wednesday.

“At this point we do not have a count of the limited number of schools where this printing error showed up,” Dunn wrote in an email Thursday. “We have provided the affected schools with instructions on how to resolve the situation. Students who were unable to complete the exam today will be able to do that during next week’s makeup period.”

Schools across the state reported receiving tests with missing questions.

The state Education Department printed four versions of the third-grade math test as a way to test out various field questions. Each school received one version of the test.

For those that received irregular exams, teachers were encouraged to make photocopies of a complete test or use a different version from a neighboring school. Otherwise, students who couldn’t complete the exam will have to finish during a make-up period next week.

New York’s standardized tests have been under intense scrutiny in recent months as parents and teachers raised concerns about the state’s implementation of the Common Core, a set of tougher education standards being used in New York and many other states.

In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed to slow some aspects of implementing the Common Core. Now, standardized test scores for students in grades 3-8 won’t remain on a student’s transcript, and they can’t be used as the sole reason for deciding whether to promote a student to the next grade for the next two years.

Carl Korn, a spokesman for New York State United Teachers, said the union is surveying its members to see how many schools were impacted by the faulty tests.

“We have sent an email survey to local leaders, asking them to report whether or not their schools were impacted,” Korn said. “We are going to be monitoring the scores when they come back to see if this error had any impact on their validity.”

The state School Boards Association noted the “many concerns among parents and students right now about standardized testing.”

“We hope the state Education Department will immediately resolve this issue so that we can begin to restore confidence throughout the state,” David Albert, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.