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State's Testing Chief Resigns
You thought testing was bad before? It's going to get worse.
By Lisa Fleisher
The head of testing at the New York State Education Department abruptly resigned Monday after top officials said the department's plans to implement tests that would take much longer were released too soon.
David Abrams, who was assistant commissioner for the Office of Standards, Assessment and Reporting for eight years, oversaw the testing program at a time when rapidly rising scores led the department to make tests more rigorous and to raise the bar for passing. Critics say the constantly changing test standards make comparisons difficult and take away credibility from the testing system.
A person familiar with the matter said Mr. Abrams did not give his superiors a heads up before sending an e-mail blast Sunday to principals and other education officials across the state that disclosed specifics of a plan to make tests longer—including doubling the length of reading tests for third- through eighth-graders to more than four hours.
A request for comment via an email message to Mr. Abrams's address at the education department was not returned.
The New York Daily News on Sunday evening first reported the plan for the new test standards, which were posted on the department's website but quickly pulled down. The department has not provided the documents to a reporter, which it called drafts, after repeated requests.
The resignation comes as the department's new commissioner, John King, gets ready to implement a wave of fresh tests to comply with federal standards for curriculum and teacher evaluations.
Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch declined to comment on the personnel matter, referring questions to Mr. King. He did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Earlier this year, Mr. King also was caught flat-footed when he said the department did not conduct an analysis of erasure marks that helps catch potential cheating. But it turned out that the department did include erasure analysis in a contract with a test company.
Wall Street Journal
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