Friday, March 6, 2015

New Mexico Students Walk Out Over New Tests Contested In US

New Mexico Students Walk Out Over New Tests Contested In US

New Mexico Students Walk Out Over New Tests

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Students frustrated over a new standardized test walked out of schools around New Mexico in protest Monday as the new exam was being given.

The backlash came as millions of U.S. students started taking more rigorous exams aligned with Common Core standards. Many parents and students around the country have opted out of the exams. Others are lobbying lawmakers and education officials for change.

The test measures student achievement and can be used in teacher evaluations. Opponents say the exams distract from real learning, put added stress on students and staff members, and waste resources, especially in poor districts.

A few hundred students at Albuquerque High School defied warnings from administrators that the teens would not graduate and could face discipline as a result of the walkout.

Students took to the sidewalks near the school with signs and chanted as supporters honked their horns.

Julie Guevara, 16, said students are tired of the testing and believe it's taking away from their overall education.

"We hope the governor hears us and does something about this," Guevara said. "We're not going away and plan to do this again until the testing is done."

Gov. Susana Martinez's office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The walkouts and demonstrations began last week in Santa Fe then continued in Carlsbad on Friday.

Students from several Las Cruces schools joined the movement Monday by walking out of class. Some carried signs that read "More teaching, less testing," and "Out the door with Common Core."

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New Mexico schools were administering the tests known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The test, debuting this year in 11 other states, is among a new generation of tests aligned to Common Core - standards adopted by 43 states that outline the math and language skills students should master in each grade.

New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera has defended the exams.

"There's a lot of anxiety that is not based on facts or truths about this assessment," Skandera told The New Mexican on Friday. "That stresses the importance of making sure we as adults are putting good information into the hands of our students."

Skandera said the test isn't an additional exam, just a better version of the state standards exam it replaced.

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