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New York State's Testing Director Resigns

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 06:28 PM

The director of New York State’s educational testing program resigned on Tuesday, according to education officials, the same day the state dropped a plan to extend the length of reading tests given in Grades 3 through 8 to nearly four hours.

Principals received word of the plans to extend the length of the tests on Monday via e-mail, The Daily News reported. Some of them expressed outrage that young children would be asked to sit for such lengthy testing, and by the next day, officials had dropped the plan, saying it was a mistake to issue the order without first consulting principals.

David Abrams, the director of the testing program, resigned the same day. Dennis Tompkins, a department spokesman, would not say whether the news reports had influenced Mr. Abrams’s decision to resign, but said it was a “fairly sudden resignation.” He said the department was already searching for a new testing director. Mr. Abrams did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Mr. Abrams, who worked for the State Education Department for eight years, oversaw the recent changes to the state’s math and English exams, which were modified in 2010 to make them harder to pass, after years of score inflation.

When the state decided to drop the test-extension plans, Mr. Tompkins told The Daily News that the department should have consulted the principals before making a change: “That is our normal protocol. It should’ve been followed and it wasn’t.”

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