District Administration September 2017 - 26

BeyondtheNews

In just the last few months, several districts and states have eliminated tests
and cut assessment time to make room
for instruction and reduce stress.
The average student takes 112 mandated standardized tests from pre-K
through grade 12, according to the
Council of the Great City Schools.
"It allows superintendents and other
policymakers to experiment with and
implement alternative forms of assessment based on real performance, not
just filling in bubbles," says Bob Schaeffer, public education director at the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.
Concern with over-testing picked up
steam around 2015, says Julie Rowland
Woods, policy analyst at the Education
Commission of the States. And since, a
slow trickle of state policies have moved
forward to mitigate it, she adds.
This past summer, Ohio eliminated
state social studies exams for grades 4
and 6. And in June, New York shortened standardized testing in public

By Alison DeNisco

schools by one day in reading and math,
leaving two days for each assessment.
Many states are studying K12 assessments to determine exactly how many
tests are mandated at the state and local
levels, and the purpose of each exam.
"Some states find that some are redundant or overlap," Woods says.
In April, Maryland passed the "More
Learning, Less Testing Act," capping
standardized testing at 2 percent, or
about 25 hours, of overall classroom
time per year. But it won't have much
of an immediate impact, says Andrew
Smarick, president of the Maryland
State Board of Education. Most districts
were already testing under 25 hours
per year. The Maryland Education Association said the act will eliminate an
estimated 730 hours of testing across 18
districts in 2018-19.
Smarick, who objected to the law's
passage, says such a mandate could tie
the hands of administrators who want
to make assessment decisions based on

DID YOU HEAR?

Ban on homework
A Florida district is banning homework in lieu of reading.
Florida's Marion County School District is starting to ban
daily homework assignments in elementary schools starting this
academic year. Students will instead be asked to read for 20 minutes
each night, according to news reports. Students will be allowed
to choose their own reading material, and teachers, libraries and
volunteers will provide guidance in the best reading materials.
It's at least the second case of a ban. Kelly Elementary School in
Holyoke, Massachusetts, banned homework in the 2016-17 school
year, intending to give students the instruction and extra help they
would need during the school day, according to ABC news.
Sources: DAmag.me/g9 and DAmag.me/h9

26 September 2017

ASSOCIATED PRESS

States begin shedding
standardized tests

EXAM OBJECTION-A year ago, Ohio
educators rallied over graduation
requirements tied to more demanding
tests, above. Just weeks ago, the state
reduced exams for younger students.

student needs. "Good superintendents,
school boards and principals can solve
most of the problem by reassessing their
assessment systems and getting rid of
old or duplicative tests," Smarick says.
Empowering principals
Vancouver Public Schools in 2016
removed 105 district-required assessments, returning as many as 15 hours
of instructional time back to classrooms
in grades 3 through 8. "We were not
focusing on eliminating a certain
number of tests," says Layne Manning, Vancouver's curriculum director.
Instead, the district determined which
tests overlapped or were not informing
instruction and replaced them with
teacher-created assessments that better
align with district standards and measure student growth.
Vancouver administrators play a
larger role in analyzing assessment
results-giving them data-driven flexibility to make decisions, says Travis
Campbell, assistant superintendent and
chief academic officer.
Alison DeNisco is a freelance writer
in Kentucky.
ASSESSMENT AUDIT

Want to reduce testing time?
Follow simple steps:
DAmag.me/TestTips

District Administration


http://www.DAmag.me/g9 http://www.DAmag.me/h9 http://www.DAmag.me/TestTips

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration September 2017

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