Amid pressure, New York releases half of Common Core test questions

BY Carey Reed  August 10, 2014 at 2:13 PM EDT

The New York State Department of Education earlier this week released 50 percent of the Common Core-based English and math questions from exams taken by students in the third through eighth grades last spring, in response to requests from educators and parent-teacher associations. 

“We’ve listened to New York State educators make the case that having more test questions available would benefit our kids so we’ve doubled the number and provided a thorough explanation for every student response,” said Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. in a statement.

The release, accompanied by a letter from the commissioner, comes after a growing “Release the Tests” campaign by parent-teacher associations, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal.

In 2013, New York State released 25 percent of the exam questions and the 2013 results showed that only one-third of students in the state were deemed ‘proficient’. The results of the 2014 tests will be released later in August.

The tests, created by Pearson, have been criticized for being too long, above grade-level and not properly aligned with the new curriculum standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia since their debut in 2010.

Four states, including Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, have repealed adoption of the Common Core standards.

Next week, lawsuits surrounding Louisiana’s public school participation in the standards go to court, reports the Associated Press.

A week before the questions were released, New York State supplied districts with instructional reports. The reports gave the percentage of students’ correct answers, as well as the topics and standards matching the questions, with the hope that this information would help educators better plan for the upcoming school year.

“We heard from teachers, principals and superintendents who asked us to put these reports out as early as possible,” King said. “We listened, and we acted.”