The federal standardized test for eight-grade students in accelerated-math programs is the first test the state would like to drop, John King said in a letter to school superintendents.
Under a proposal to the U.S. Education Department, those math students would take only a state Regents algebra exam and skip the federally required Grade 8 math test, ending double-testing of the students, he said.
The state is also working with the federal Education Department about possibly changing requirements for other standardized tests that are part of the federal Common Core State Standards Initiative, King said.
The proposed changes include letting students with severe disabilities "be tested based on instructional level rather than chronological age," his letter said.
The Common Core initiative seeks to bring diverse state curriculums into alignment with each other by following principles of "standards-based education reform."
Forty-eight states adopted it, with only Texas and Alaska not participating.
But Nebraska and Virginia have decided not to adopt the initiative's standards, Indiana and Michigan suspended implementation and Alabama has introduced legislation to repeal it. Minnesota rejected the math standards and other states are considering defunding the program.
"Testing is an important part of the instructional cycle and necessary to monitor student academic progress and contribute to decisions at the classroom, school, district and state levels," King said in the letter.
"However, the amount of testing should be the minimum necessary to inform effective decision-making," he said. "Test results should be used only as one of multiple measures of progress, and tests should reflect our instructional priorities."
He said his department and the state Board of Regents would look for other ways "to reduce testing that is not needed without sacrificing the valuable information assessments provide."
King -- under fire from teacher and parent groups calling for his resignation over Common Core testing and teacher evaluations linked to those results -- told an annual conference of some 2,200 school board members in Rochester Friday the state was still committed to the Common Core standards, even with testing adjustments.
"I want to be very clear we are committed to the work on the Common Core," King said in remarks quoted by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "We are committed to the agreement we made collectively as a state. Our commitment to these principles shall not waiver."
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