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Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Bumps in the road

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Local educators were forced to deal with an additional public relations problem regarding the Common Core State Standards Initiative last week.

Four school districts in Jefferson County discovered that the math tests being administered May 1 to third-graders were missing questions. Administrators at Carthage Central, General Brown Central, Indian River Central and South Jefferson Central found blank pages where some math questions should have been just prior to students starting the test.

More than 100 of the state’s 3,000 school districts endured this printing error with this particular test. Some districts had access to additional tests while teachers in others had to make copies of tests with the questions included. Some had to cancel the test and allow the students to take it on a scheduled makeup day.

“Dawn D. Ludovici, Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services assistant superintendent, said BOCES serves as the regional depository for the county,” according to a story Saturday in the Watertown Daily Times. “The board provides additional tests if a school doesn’t receive enough or there is a problem with the exams. … Marie L. Western, Lowville Academy and Central School curriculum coordinator, said the academy, which serves as the repository for Lewis County, saw no sign that Lewis County schools were given an incomplete test.”

In the broad scheme of things that can go wrong in a school on any given day, this glitch was minor. Students either received complete copies of the test or were instructed to take advantage of the makeup session. This was not a major problem.

But it was yet another goof-up plaguing the state’s effort to incorporate the Common Core standards into the curriculum of local schools. The New York State Education Department has bungled the rollout of this program more than once. And this latest hiccup most likely served only to remind parents, students, teachers and administrators of how unpopular this idea has become since it was first proposed.

It’s good that school districts found ways to quickly resolve the problem of having incomplete tests. But the Common Core State Standards Initiative can’t afford too many more mishaps. Officials should take additional precautions to ensure there aren’t any future surprises like this one.

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