NYC: Test topics should avoid aliens, Halloween

DEEPTI HAJELA Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Companies that want to come up with the tests used to measure New York City students' progress are being advised to stay away from topics including aliens and vermin.

A Department of Education list of subjects to avoid also includes: junk food, birthdays, abuse, terrorism, holidays and Halloween.

The department included the list in a recently issued request for proposals to create the tests used to measure student progress in math, science, literacy and social studies. It says the listed topics could "evoke unpleasant emotions" or "appear biased."

New York University education professor Diane Ravitch says concern about test topics isn't confined to the nation's largest city. She says it's something "testing companies have been doing for a long time."

Companies have until April 23 to submit their proposals.