Education feature: Student test dates pushed back

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The New Mexico Public Education Department has moved state testing periods to three-and-a-half weeks later beginning in the 2008-2009 school year.

According to a department press release, the move was in response to educators and legislators requesting more time to work with students prior to the test window for New Mexico Standards Based Assessment.

The testing period was moved to March 23-April 24.

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the change provided the system with a challenge.

“It was done in a short notice for us,” said Seidenwurm, citing that the Clovis school board had approved the 2008-2009 calendar a year ago. “We would have planned spring break differently. And we will next year.”

Spring break for the 2008-2009 school year is scheduled for March 23-27, which falls at the beginning of the testing period.

Though the move presents a scheduling challenge, Seidenwurm said she was in favor of pushing back the testing period.

“We’re very much in favor of the move. It gives us more time to work with kids at grade level and that’s when it makes a difference,” she said.

Clovis High School Principal Jody Balch said there are benefits of testing being later in the year.

“The later testing period gives the opportunity for more depth with the subject,” he said.

Balch said that ideally testing would be at the end of the year.

New Mexico Standards Based Assessment tests are given from third through eighth grades and 11th grade.