Wednesday, October 15, 2014

School chiefs taking a look at the amount of testing

There's some political fencing sort of language in this, but the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools recognized concern about the amount of testing in schools and said that they'd work to limit it in their districts, though they were careful to add that they were not backing away from yearly assessments.
Michael Casserly, the executive director of the council, noted that his group has been collecting data about national, state, and local tests being administered in schools. A preliminary analysis has shown that students in urban districts take "an average of 113 standardized tests between prekindergarten and 12th grade," he said. Eleventh graders spend the most time taking tests—up to as many as 27 days of testing per year—and 5th graders sit for an average of five days of testing per year. "Testing is administered for 23 distinct purposes," Casserly said, including federal and state accountability, English-language proficiency, diagnostics, and evaluations of programs.
 I'll point out that the state Commissioner from New York, John King, pushed this off onto districts (gee, where have we heard that before?), but, nonetheless, a hopeful sign.
That push is part of this article from the Washington Post with a round up of movement even just these past few weeks on the pushback on standardized assessments:
Four states have repealed or delayed graduation testing requirements in the past two years. Four others, including Texas — where the idea of using tests to hold schools accountable for educating children first began — have cut the number of required exams or reduced their consequences. Boycotts,such as when 60,000 students refused to take exams this year in New York, are on the upswing. 
And should you be in Worcester and have an interest in this, note that we have an item on the agenda for tomorrow night, asking for language on parents opting their children out of PARCC.
And here's a statement from Secretary Duncan.

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