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Opting Into New Standards

By Izhaan Ahmed

After a three-year hiatus from state testing for most New York students, the ELA and math tests are once again a part of the lives of the seventh and eighth grade students at New Hyde Park.

The test is administered to students across grades three to eight for the purpose of giving parents and teachers of the student some measure of proficiency of the student. This is especially relevant to students post-pandemic, who experienced a marked decline in educational proficiency following a year of remote learning.

This year, taking the test is optional, but students are defaulted to attending the tests, as it had operated for years prior to the pandemic. This is the opposite of last year’s state testing policy, which was that the test would be available for students given that the student’s parents opted in. Due to this, the population of students taking the exam was greatly reduced.

Artwork by Lindsay Kim

Students prepare for their respective state exams by getting their No. 2 pencils and calculators out on their desks.

During the four exam days — two for the ELA test and two for the math test — the school undergoes a two-hour delay. This reduces the periods in the day to roughly 30 minutes each for the students once they finish the test and requires all other students who are not taking a test to wait at the cafeterias until 10:00 a.m. Once two hours have passed for the test-taking students, they have the liberty to relocate to the library and finish the test. Otherwise, the school day continued with the shortened periods.

During the testing block, AP classes took advantage of this long time without class; 90-minute review sessions for subjects such as AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics were conducted in which there was time to complete substantial parts of practice exams without interruption or conflicts such as extracurriculars.

The students of NHP have their own opinions on the matter. This marks the first time in three years that most students have opted to take it, being either in fourth or fifth grade at the time of their last exposure to the test.

“I feel that three years ago, the stress levels and intensity of actually taking the tests were higher. I still hate them,” seventh grader Ryin Lok said.

“I think the state tests are unneeded because they put stress on the students and do not count towards anything,” seventh grader Tevin Lalson said.

“Personally, I’m not really against it. Obviously having to take extra testing isn’t everybody’s first choice, but I’m not against extra practice. This will be key in preparing us for high school,” eighth grader Sherwin Fernandes said.

“A lot of people around me aren’t really bothered because I think most are opting out, but the ones taking it feel stressed,” seventh grader Alan Aphraim said.

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