Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D-Amherst/Pendleton) announced that a bill she co-sponsored removing the mandate that standardized test scores be used for teacher evaluations has passed the Assembly (A.783). This includes the grades 3 through 8 state-mandated English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests, which have sparked backlash from parents and teachers, and produced high test opt-out rates.
As a lawyer, I specialized in advocating for parents of special needs students, so I know theres no universal approach to education, McMahon said. Different methods work for different kids, and teachers should be focused on figuring out how to help each individual student instead of spending hours on test prep. A single grade on a test doesnt fully represent a students grasp on a particular subject, nor should it be the determining factor on how we evaluate our educators.
The legislation allows local school districts and teachers to craft evaluation systems better suited to their communities and ensures that standardized test scores are not part of a students permanent record. The Amherst and Williamsville school districts have experienced high opt-out rates in recent years, an issue this bill hopes to remedy by restoring local control and allowing teachers greater flexibility to meet the needs of their students, McMahon said.