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Katz files lawsuit to block retest at Rego Park school

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Katz filed a petition with the State Supreme Court seeking to modify the ruling of the Department of Education that forces third grade students to retake the English examination.

"The students at PS 174 have done nothing wrong and should not be penalized for administrative mistakes made by the Department of Education," said Katz. "These children are being forced to pay for the mistakes of the City."

At PS 174 in Rego Park, third graders have been asked to retake the English test that they took on April 20. Inadvertently, 20 practice questions were included in the 50-question test. In light of the error, the Department of Education asked students to choose between taking the test again or be graded on only the 30 remaining questions they did not see prior to the exam.

"It is inherently unequal and unfair to grade a certain set of student exams differently than the rest of the city's third graders," said Katz. "Further to force 8- and 9-year-olds to retake this test because the preparation materials issued by the Department of Education were duplicated in some form on the exam is a great injustice."

In the petition, Katz calls for three options for the Department of Education. First, the students of PS. 174 be graded on the original 50 questions, the same as the rest of the city. The second option is that the entire city be graded on the same 30 questions. Lastly, if the students are forced to retake the exam, the city should ease the pressure by allowing the higher of the two scores to be used in determining promotion.

In the students' defense, Katz cited the fact that the SATs and the GMATs use practice questions on their exams.

"The idea that an exam should be voided because the preparation material contained the same or similar information is certainly not the norm," said Katz. "Why should these third graders be treated any differently?"

Reach reporter Tommy Hallissey by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 155..

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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