THE BRONX - Education advocates and parents want the Department of Education to reduce the amount of standardized tests that are given throughout the year.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is behind the fight to see children taking fewer exams, especially the ones that are non-essential. She is accusing the DOE of giving too many unnecessary exams and not enough of what she calls a ?well-rounded education.?

?Third-graders who are 8 or 9 years old are having as many as 11 high-stakes tests a year,? says Gotbaum.

Rolando Bini, director of Parents in Action, believes that additional after-school programs, a reduction in class sizes and teaching critical thinking would lead to a more productive learning experience for the city?s schoolchildren.

A spokesperson from the DOE disputes Gotbaum?s charges, saying that the numbers she quoted are inaccurate and that the exams are not ?high-stakes.? According to the spokesperson, the tests are diagnostic assessments teachers can use as tools for the improvement of reading and math skills.

The DOE also claims that through two learning initiatives started this year children are already receiving a well-rounded education.

For Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum's news conference on standardized testing, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.