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Byram Hills Teachers Creating New Assessment

ARMONK, N.Y. – Although it still may be summer vacation, the teachers in the Byram Hills Central School District are working normal hours in an attempt to create a new assessment that will evaluate both students and teachers, according to Superintendent Bill Donahue.

Donahue said that with the district’s history of scoring high on standardized tests, the district is looking for a new way to challenge its students.

“Our teachers are working on creating assessments that won’t feel like tests and will be meaningful to our students,” Donahue said. “Because we already know that our students can do well on standardized tests, I don’t think we need any more of them to prove that.”

In total, 75 percent of the faculty has been working on developing the new assessment plans over the summer. A new state law allows school districts to make 20 percent of a teacher’s assessment based on a district-specific test or project that is approved by the state Education Department. Donahue said the plan for Byram Hills is to create something similar to a project in the classroom that may not even seem to the students like an additional assessment.

“What we’re working toward would be a performance assessment, so it is much more like projects,” Donahue said. “Or assessments that are built in to the curriculum in such a way that the students aren’t even aware that they’re taking them.”

In the recently released standardized test scores for Byram Hills grades three through eight, all six grades had at least 90 percent of their students scoring at or above the proficiency level in either English or math.

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