Teacher Scoring of English Exams Underway

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4:42 p.m. | Updated Before the state math tests begin Wednesday for third through eighth grade students, New York City teachers already have started scoring the English language arts exams.

The scoring period for the E.L.A. tests began yesterday and continues today. It then pauses for the math tests and resumes Monday for five more days. About 2,600 teachers will be sent to score the exams during the school day, according to the Department of Education. Schools will send approximately the same number of teachers to score the math tests May 9-10 and May 13-16.

Each year, the burden of scoring written answers to state test questions rests on local districts. Teachers do not score tests from their own schools.

Each principal must designate a certain of number of teachers, depending on the size of the school, to score tests during the day. Schools do not receive extra funds to hire substitute teachers during this time and, in the past, teachers expressed concern about being away from the classroom after a period of test prep and the testing itself.

"It's a financial burden," said Anthony Armstrong, principal of J.H.S. 74 Nathaniel Hawthorne in Bayside. For his school of about 1,000 students, he is sending 14 teachers -- seven at a time -- to score the E.L.A. tests. He will send an additional six to score the math exams.

Besides having to set aside funds to hire substitutes, Armstrong said, the scoring process disrupts instruction.

"Teaching does occur after the tests, and now you have a series of subs coming in," he said.

Additional teachers do score after school and on the weekends for both tests, and the D.O.E. said there is more money for per session scoring this year. The department is spending about $8.8 million this year to pay teachers to score tests outside of the school day, compared to $7.6 million last year.

We'd love to hear from teachers below about how the scoring process is going, and your perceptions of those Pearson scoring rubrics.