Forum focuses on standardized testing in elementary school

SARANAC LAKE – Standardized tests have become as much a part of elementary school as recess and reading. But how do these widespread, state-administered tests affect our children and the way they’re taught?

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m., the Petrova Parents’ Club will sponsor an informational forum to help the Saranac Lake community understand the impact standardized testing has on the educational experience. The forum will be held in the Petrova Elementary School auditorium.

“Mandatory testing has reshaped the educational landscape,” Petrova Parents’ Club President Zoe Smith said in a news release. “Every spring, students and teachers spend hours and hours preparing for them. Student scores are a fundamental part of teacher evaluations and the testing represents a significant expense to districts. But we find parents are generally in the dark about what it all means, which is why we’re hosting this event.”

Organizers say the forum will answer questions such as these:

-What are children being tested for?

-How are the results used by the state, the Saranac Lake Central School District and the federal government?

-What testing is mandatory, and who requires what?

The forum will feature a panel discussion with two elementary school principals and a pair of fifth-grade teachers, as well as representatives from the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the Saranac Lake Teachers Association and district Superintendent Gerald Goldman.

Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio will moderate the discussion, which will cover the testing landscape as well as audience questions.

The forum is free and open to the public. The Petrova Parents’ Club encourages all community members in the Tri-Lakes and beyond to attend, particularly parents of elementary school students.

Petrova Parents’ Club provides support for the academic and social needs of the Petrova Elementary School community and aims to enrich the educational experience of our children and their families. It’s online at