Standardized state tests will no longer be the dominant factor in deciding whether students in third through eighth grades in city schools are held back or promoted, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Wednesday. Now, teachers will compile "promotion portfolios," which can include test scores, writing samples, projects, and report cards. The final promotion decision will be made by school principals, with oversight from district superintendents. Meanwhile, students will no longer be given a test at the end of summer school, instead the students' summer work would be added to their portfolio. The practice is used in private schools, charter schools, other districts around the state, and even city high schools. The changes, due to take effect this spring, come in response to legislation passed as part of the state budget and push-back against the previous policy, which was adopted a decade ago by the Bloomberg Administration and has left many parents upset. Despite the change, the number of children held back is expected to remain about the same. The plan needs to be approved by the city's Panel for Educational Policy in May, but is expected to pass.
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