State testing begins in Pearl River and schools across the state Tuesday.
English Language Arts exams are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday with Math April 24-26.
Pearl River Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Sue Wheeler explained that the state has tightned regulations on electronic devices during testing during last week's board of education meeting. All such devices, not just cell phones, are prohibited in the testing rooms, even if they remain in backpacks or pockets.
Teachers who proctor the exams will be reading the new rule to students, then collect and hold any devices that were not stored in lockers prior to the test. This includes cell phones, iPods, MP3 players, iPads, electronic readers, personal computing devices of any kind, digital cameraas, headphones, headsets and any toher device capable of storing pictures, audio or video.
"Throughout the process, we're encourage parents to help kids get a good night's sleep, a good breakfast and encourage them to do their best work that day," Wheeler said.
Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano restated the message he sent out to parents early last week reminding them that they may not have their children opt out of taking state standardized tests. He was asked what a teacher should do if a student says their parents told them not to take the exam.
"Put the test in front of the child," Morgano said.
Morgano said the district does use the test results in evaluating students and planning future insturction and that they are also important for the district's standing with the state.
Testing regulations are not the only thing that has changed. The tests are also different.
"This year's tests are new," Morgano said. "We don't know what they will be until we open the packets."
Wheeler said the district will adapt to cover any gaps in the curriculum once they have seen the new exams.
Pearl River is just one of the local districts that recently sent out letters to paretns reminding them that they cannot have their child opt out of the state testing. Clarkstown and Nyack did as well.
A group of parents in Nyack is questioning the testing and some may keep their children out of school the days of the testing. That would mean 12 days for the Math and ELA exams, six for the testing and six make-up days.
"I wouldn't recommend it," Morgano said. "That's a lot of days."