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Westminster Public Schools

Where Education is Personal

Spring Testing To Go Forward

Children

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has ruled that Colorado school districts can not apply for waivers from upcoming spring assessments, meaning students in District 50, and across the state, will take the new computer-based tests beginning in March.

There was some uncertainty about the tests after the State Board of Education voted in January to allow districts to seek waivers to exempt their students from the tests. The Attorney General ruled that only lawmakers can change the testing rules and requirements.

Critics across Colorado argue there is too much high stakes testing at the expense of classroom learning. District 50 leadership has long argued that while it supports accountability, the high stakes testing program is not compatible with a true Competency Based System which measures student progress by mastery of a learning topic.

CBS embraces the idea that students learn at different rates and that many students have learning gaps that need to be filled.

Lawmakers are currently debating several potential changes to the state's testing formula.

The upcoming PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success) will replace the TCAP tests which many students and parents are familiar with.

The PARCC assessment measures student's progress within the Common Core State Standards for Math and English Language Arts (ELA) with a focus on critical thinking and problem solving while CMAS measures knowledge in Science and Social Studies.

District 50 students will begin PARCC testing in March with the CMAS tests to follow in April.
 
Because the test has no established baseline there is no way to measure student progress, but most experts expect scores to drop for all students  because the tests are online (which is new) and because the standards are more rigorous.  There is, in short,  alot of uncertainty.
 
"It will be interesting to see the results next fall to see how Colorado compares to other states who are also administering the new PARCC test," said Chief Education Officer, Oliver Grenham.  
 
Grenham adds that since the assessment is online, it is essential that all learners continue to practice and improve their keyboarding and navigation skills on a computer.  He is encouraging parents and family to teach skills to their children.
 
More information on the PARCC tests can be found here. In addition, the next Insider will have a more detailed look at the new exams and what parents and students should know.

 



Posted February 12, 2015
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