Dr. Jill Chin, Director of Elementary Curriculum, and Mrs. Nancy House, Director of Secondary Curriculum, led an effort to evaluate the testing being given at each grade level. The goal was to identify which tests are absolutely necessary either because of legal requirements or because we believe they help our students’ academic development. The results were surprising – and frustrating.
The first reason we must test our children (through standardized testing options) is for legal reasons. There are four laws that come into play here: the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which says students in grades K-3 must be at grade level for reading by the end of each respective year, and require testing at the start & end of each year; the requirement that we identify children who are “gifted” at various grade levels; the new teacher evaluation system, which says we must in part evaluate our teachers on the growth their students exhibit; and the performance-based and end-of-course tests we are required to give per the new state requirements.
All this adds up to quite a bit of testing. And when you add on the tests we believe are helpful to our students by helping prepare them for tests they’ll need for college (such as the Aspire test in grade 9, which leads up to the ACT), our kids are taking a lot of tests.
This Powerpoint outlines the testing we will be doing in the coming year by grade level. This is after we have eliminated the tests that were not legally required and we felt added little value – which were few.
The good news is there are some options, at least for high schoolers, that allow our students to explore and branch out based on their own interests and needs. They are not easy, but they are available. Hopefully we will soon see a lessening of testing requirements at all levels. The Milford school district will be sharing this information with our legislators and encouraging them to find other ways to meet the needs in the laws they have passed.
If you feel strongly about changing test protocol, please contact our state legislators, or contact me for more information about how you can make your voice heard.