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Assessments cost RCSD nearly $2 million

Updated: Friday, November 22 2013, 12:44 PM EST

by Evan White

Rochester, N.Y. -- Assessments are part of the new Annual Professional Performance Review or teacher evaluations and they are based on the Common Core curriculum. The problem according to parents and district leaders is the volume of tests and the expense.

“It is definitely not a wise thing to do to give so much testing,” said Bolgen Vargas, Rochester Schools Superintendent. Some suburban districts chose to measure student performance and evaluate teachers in different ways, avoiding the extra exams.

13WHAM News requested a cost analysis in September after Vargas announced plans to reduce the number of assessment tests.

Two months later, a cost analysis showed that the district spent $1,196,138 in the 2012-2013 school year and expects to spend $656.070 in 2013-2014.

Most of the costs were for hardware and software and labor costs, according to the analysis.

Prior to APPR testing, the district did not incur these costs, said an RCSD spokesman.

If the state approves the district’s request to lower the amount of tests, it would mean a substantial savings, according to Vargas.

Money that could be used to bolster summer academic programs.

In place of the tests, Vargas said the schools will be able to measure student achievement through prior history, records of areas of improvement for each student, teacher assessments and previous test grades.

The State Education Department did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for RCSD said the state is expected to approve its request to reduce the number of assessment exams.

In spring, post-assessment exams will be given, but Vargas said there will be fewer than last year.

Assessments cost RCSD nearly $2 million

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