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Yorktown Students Facing Tough Tests Tuesday

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown students will probably struggle with the new state assessment tests this week, but Yorktown Central School District officials want them and their parents to know that’s OK.

All New York students in grades three through eight are set to participate in the NYS Assessment Program beginning Tuesday. But this year’s version of the test is set to be more challenging than years past, state officials have said . For the first time, the assessments will be based on the revamped Common Core Learning Standards, a series of benchmarks that have been adopted by 45 states. The goal is to develop more critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, state educators say, and evaluate students and teachers more rigorously, state officials said.

“Students will be asked to read more difficult texts, to use evidence to support their arguments, and to perform multiple-step math problems," John King, the state's Commissioner of Education, said. “The number of students meeting or exceeding the Common Core grade-level expectations should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or a decline in educator performance.”

A decline is to be expected but it should not be discouraging, said Yorktown Deputy Superintendent Florence O’Connor in a mailed letter to parents .

In "the Yorktown Schools, we expect to experience a similar decline in student assessment results,” O’Connor said in the letter. “The best way to prepare your children is to focus on the positive – the idea that the assessments will give them an opportunity to show what they know and how well they can think.”

O’Connor added that all students need to take the tests for the district to qualify for some state funding.

“It is important that your child comes to school and participates in the NYSED Assessment Program,” O’Connor said in the letter. “School districts must demonstrate 95 percent student participation in order to demonstrate accountability and to continue to receive certain funding. Thank you always, for your partnership in advancing student achievement.”

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