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Posts tagged ‘standardized testing’

Educators, Parents Give State Accountability Tests Poor Marks

NWEA survey coverOnly 37 percent of principals and 31 percent of superintendents consider state accountability tests useful for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. That’s just one of the attention grabbing findings from a poll of students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents released earlier this month.

The poll, commissioned by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and conducted by Gallup, focused on education stakeholders’ attitudes about assessments.

Some of the findings include: Read more

Problems with SBAC Focus of State Department of Education Meeting

Kristine Goldhawk tells members of the state's High School Assessment Working Group about her school's experience with SBAC. At right is Stratford teacher Lisa Tryon.

New Canaan teacher Kristine Goldhawk tells members of the state’s High School Assessment Working Group about her school’s experience with SBAC. At right is Stratford teacher Lisa Tryon.

Students and educators who came to the State Department of Education this afternoon to share their experiences with the state’s High School Assessment Working Group said that SBAC is taking away valuable learning time, lacks relevance to students, and places a significant burden on eleventh graders — many of whom are left taking a considerable number of tests in a short amount of time.

In addition to SBAC, many high school students take the SATs and AP exams in the spring of their junior year. That’s why the working group is considering replacing SBAC with another assessment such as the SAT or ACT. Read more about prior meetings of the working group here and here.

Thomaston High School senior Megan Foell serves on the State Student Advisory Council and is a student member of the State Board of Education. She said, “From the end of sophomore year and throughout junior year we’re bombarded with preparing for college. The tests are all clustered around the same time, and districts often implement their own district accountability assessments as well.” Read more

CEA Proposal to Limit Testing Focus of Radio Program

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg today appeared on WNPR’s “Where We Live” to talk about CEA’s proposal to limit standardized testing. Photo by Chion Wolf/WNPR.

“High-stakes standardized tests are sucking the educational oxygen out of the room for teaching and learning,” CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg told host John Dankosky this morning on WNPR’s “Where We Live.” Waxenberg joined CT Mirror education reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, for a discussion about standardized testing and CEA’s proposal to eliminate the controversial SBAC.

Waxenberg explained that CEA’s proposal to replace SBAC with a progress monitoring assessment would still allow for comparisons between Connecticut districts. However, instead of focusing on a cut score, the CEA proposal would focus on students’ grade equivalency and growth over time.

CEA’s proposal does not call for any additional testing, as districts in Connecticut are already using progress monitoring assessments. “School boards are already paying for progress monitoring assessments,” Waxenberg said. “We want a portfolio of growth to be the driving force behind what happens in the classroom.” Read more

CEA Legislative Proposal to Eliminate Excessive Testing Takes Center Stage

More and more people are standing up and taking notice of CEA’s proposal to reduce testing and increase accountability in our public schools. Today CEA announced that its proposal is expected to be in the legislative limelight next Thursday, when the Education Committee holds a public hearing that will include bills that address improvements in student testing.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “The more we talk about our proposal, the more we see people asking themselves, ‘Why not?’ Connecticut went down the wrong path with SBAC several years ago. Now that it’s clear that SBAC is the wrong path, legislators must correct course, and move ahead with progress tests that provide more learning time, immediate adjustment of instructional strategies to help children, and personal attention for our students.”

Advocates for less testing, however, are not the only ones speaking out in the testing debate that affects the daily instructional lives of every Connecticut student. Read more

Educators Say Standardized Tests Get in the Way of Teaching

Educators shared their thoughts on elementary education last night during a taping of WNPR's "Where We Live." From left are host John Dankosky, Hartford teacher Jodi Kabat, UConn professor Douglas Kaufman, Manchester teacher Michelle McKnight, and Bloomfield teacher Norma Ferguson.

Educators shared their thoughts on elementary education last night during a taping of WNPR’s “Where We Live.” From left are host John Dankosky, Hartford teacher Jodi Kabat, UConn professor Douglas Kaufman, Manchester teacher Michelle McKnight, and Bloomfield teacher Norma Ferguson.

Teachers need to be able to build relationships with students and foster creativity, critical thinking, and a love of learning in order to ensure the success of their elementary students —  but standardized testing is getting in the way. That’s what educators on a WNPR “Where We Live” panel last night on elementary education told host John Dankosky.

“I really want kids to play and be curious,” said Michelle McKnight, a math interventionist at Bennett Academy in Manchester. “Especially in elementary school, we are trying to grow brains and help them explore and love learning and life.”

McKnight added, “In order to be productive citizens, we have to teach our kids to think, and I’m not sure that that’s what standardized testing does.” Read more

SBAC Results May Provoke Shock, Officials Urge Families to Stay Objective

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg raised concerns about SBAC at today’s meeting of the state’s High School Assessment Working Group. At right is teacher and former state Rep. Paul Davis.

Details are emerging about how the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) program will affect students, teachers, and communities.

Most school districts in Connecticut administered a field test last year, but this year the program will be in high gear with educators administering the tests to students in grades 3-8 and 11 this April/May. The State Department of Education has yet to release the results of the field test administration last year.

This year, the stakes will be high as students establish a baseline for the test. Jacqueline King, who works for the SBAC program, says the baseline data about Connecticut students’ performance on the first-time test has the “potential to shock” students and their families. Read more

Standardized Tests and the Future of No Child Left Behind

The debate over mandated standardized testing took center stage today as the Republican-controlled 114th Congress gets ready to make its mark on education policy. At issue is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and whether the nation’s education law should include a requirement that states annually test their students.

ESEA reauthorization is long overdue. The law hasn’t been reauthorized since 2001 when it was christened No Child Left Behind, and the consequences of its most recent iteration have been called off for most states due to waivers granted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Republicans have begun work on a rewrite to ESEA, and one aspect of the draft legislation that’s getting attention from President Obama’s administration is a proposal to end federally required annual testing. The legislation would instead allow states to design their own testing schedules. Read more

Over-Testing in Overdrive: Addressing the Problem Head On

Kid Hand On Computer MouseFrom community forums to conference rooms at the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE), there’s rising scrutiny about the number of tests being administered in public schools. There’s also growing resolve to do something about it.

A new SDE 11th Grade Assessment Working Group held its first meeting today and will be working through the spring. The committee is comprised of public education stakeholders, including CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg. “It’s a perfect opportunity to look at high school testing and also to look at testing longitudinally in other grades. That’s the long-term. This new working group has a much narrower change,” said Waxenberg. Read more

Grants Available to Help Districts Reduce Testing

The State Department of Education is making up to $500,000 in grants available to local school districts to help cut back on the overuse of testing in Connecticut’s public schools.

The grants are part of Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s plan to help school districts reduce the amount of time students at all grade levels spend taking tests. The plan also includes efforts to change federal laws to reduce the number of high-stakes exams given to students in grade 11.

The grants are expected to have an immediate impact on the number and types of assessments given to students by allowing districts across the state to review and make changes in their testing practices.

Click here for the application. Applications are due January 9, 2015. For more information, contact Scott Nierendorf at or 860-455-1569.