From Daily News Tribune:
A recent statewide mandate to expand the English proficiency exam to kindergartners has many school officials up in arms.
MacArthur Elementary School Principal Anthony Colannino said the Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment exam is too complicated for young learners, "filling in bubbles much too small for their tiny hands and not-yet- coordinated fingers."
In the past, the test was only administered to third- to 10th-graders whose first language is not English and who are "unable to perform ordinary classroom work in English," according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This year the exam will be given to students in kindergarten through second grade.
"Now we're all the way down to 5- and 6-year-olds taking a pencil and paper test," Colannino said. "My students and others in Waltham and across the state are being judged on reading material above their grade level."
Colannino said students started taking the exam March 2. He said during the school day 20 students are scheduled to take the test that requires a maximum of 45 minutes to complete. Testing runs through the end of this week.
J.C. Considine of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said the state was required to expand the test.
"No Child Left Behind requires states to assess all (limited English proficient) students (from kindergarten through 12th grade) in reading, writing, speaking, and listening," he said. . . .