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Common Core Panel Says Limit Time Teaching to Test

ALBANY, N.Y.—A panel created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to look into New York’s rollout of the Common Core curriculum recommended Monday banning standardized tests for the youngest students and capping the amount of instructional time that can be used for test prep.

Cuomo created the panel last month amid widespread complaints by parents and teachers that New York rushed the rollout of the tougher standards. Teachers argue they will be unfairly punished if students do poorly under the new assessments and others question whether the standards will really elevate student achievement.

The panel called for the ban of standardized “bubble tests” for students through second grade, saying it would protect them from anxiety and “developmentally inappropriate” testing.

Another recommendation apparently aimed at the practice of “teaching to the test” would limit the amount of class time that can be used for standardized tests and test preparation. The panel also wants to make sure results of English and math Common Core tests for grades 3-8 do not appear on students’ permanent records.

“It is in everyone’s best interest to have high, real world standards for learning and to support the Common Core curriculum, but we need to make sure that our students are not unfairly harmed by its implementation,” Cuomo said in a prepared release. “The recommendations released by the Common Core Implementation Panel today seek to achieve this goal.”

State lawmakers have said they would consider the panel’s recommendations.

The panel, headed by Stanley Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation, also recommended halting the state’s relationship with Atlanta-based service provider InBloom. The state had planned to transfer students’ grades, test scores and attendance records to InBloom this year, but postponed it amid concerns about privacy and security.

The K-12 educational benchmarks have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia to improve student readiness for college and careers.

New York’s education policy setting Board of Regents approved some changes to implementing Common Core last month but backed off on a plan to delay a teacher evaluation measure.

The Cuomo panel’s report came out a day before the state Legislature is scheduled to vote on whether to reappoint four members of the Board of Regents. Lawmakers facing elections also have been critical of the board and the vote is expected to be contentious.

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