McGurl: Waive standardized testing

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The focal point of the March 9 Granville Board of Education meeting stemmed from a question posed by board member Ed Vladyka to school superintendent Thomas McGurl during Junior/Senior High School principal Lisa Meade’s report to the board.

Vladyka was curious about the status of Regents exams and grades 3-8 testing, and whether there was an update if they will be offered or waived due to the pandemic.

As of March 12, McGurl officially said via phone that the Regents exams at the end of this school year will only consist of Algebra I, Earth Science, Living Environment and 11th grade English. The Regents testing is in-person only and all other exams at the high-school level will have a waiver for this year.

Despite New York State feeling the 3-8 testing should be waived, McGurl said the federal government think’s it’s a good idea to conduct the standardized testing. McGurl said he doesn’t understand this reasoning.

“We don’t need a standardized test to tell us where kids lost ground during the course of COVID,” McGurl said. “It just makes absolutely zero sense, whatsoever.”

Due to the ability of parents to be able to transition their child to full-virtual-learning at any point during the school year, theoretically, every in-person student who is qualified for the 3-8 testing could be switched to virtual learning to avoid taking the test.

On March 12, McGurl filed an application along with New York State schools for a waiver for 3-8 testing, to avoid confusion.

Additionally, in Meade’s principal’s report to the board, she informed the board that of the 89 seniors in the high school who started in September, 65 are on pace to graduate.

Home visits have been conducted recently by Meade and administrators to the 10 “at-risk” deemed seniors who all have “attendance problems.”

Board president Audrey Hicks and Vladyka asked Meade to provide statistics on whether the seniors who chose to be fully remote were more at risk to fail and if adding school sports back will motivate the students to improve their grades to qualify to play.

Although no timetable was put in place to retrieve the information, Meade said she would hope to get the statistics to the board by the end of the week.