The Common Core is a set of national standards adopted by 44 states, including New York. It involves testing third through eighth graders in math, science, and English.
“It’s one indicator to make a determination on programs for students, and also its a tool that we use look at the curriculum and our delivery in which we are delivering the curriculum to the students,” said Scott Storms, the Director of Curriculum Assessment at the Peru Central Schools.
While most students answered questions armed with number two pencils, Storms says others sat out.
“More students this year opted out,” said Storms.
About 25% of the student's parents didn't want them to take the test in Peru alone. Some parents I spoke with say they took their children out of the most recent round of tests because they say kids are tested too much in schools these days. But Storms says he's heard two other common reasons for pulling students out of testing. The first is that parents of special education students decide they can't sit through the testing, so parents decide it would be easier on the students to opt out. The other reason is parents are taking a political stance- opting out of the testing because they say they are against the common core.
Superintendent Patrick Brimstein says he believes more parents and students are opting out because they might not fully understand the goal of the Common Core curriculum.
“I think we have a ways to go as far as really explaining the value of the Common Core showing how data that is gathered is secure so parents don't need to worry about that. How that data is used to improve instructional programs, how the data is used to give individual support to students and I think we need to do a better job at explaining these things to our parents,” said Brimstein.
But for now the school is making other arrangements for the more than 100 students who refused to take the test.
“If we know ahead of time, they automatically go to that location and they are allowed to read a book during the time of the test,” said Storms.
The superintendent says the tests are used as only a small part of a teacher's evaluation and not used to determine whether or not they'll receive a raise. Also the tests will not be counted on a student's transcript.
And a change that has come since the state's budget approval- kindergarteners, first, and second graders will not be tested on the common core.