Superintendent Pam Swanson and Chief Education Officer Oliver Grenham were among an elite group of educators brought to the White House last month to focus on how to make the nation’s tests Better, Fairer and Fewer.
The meeting was a part of President Obama’s Testing Action Plan and was one of the final public meetings of the Obama White House to focus on K-12 education.
“When done well, all assessments are tools for progress, accountability and equity,” said Secretary of Education, John King during opening remarks. “But when done poorly, testing can become a costly distraction consuming an excessive amount of valuable instructional time while only asking low level questions that require just memory and not demonstration of real understanding.”
You can view Secretary King’s remarks in their entirety and the opening panel discussion here.
WPS was nominated to participate in the summit because of its Competency Based System (CBS) which places a priority on student mastery of a learning topics rather than high stakes once a year standardized testing. CBS requires students to fill in gaps in their learning before moving to the next learning level and strives to eliminate social promotion.
In addition, WPS has already signaled to the Colorado Department of Education its desire to be a pilot district for the use of innovative practices in testing. This would include on-demand testing, allowing students to engage in multiple grade level tests (e.g., an 11-year-old could take the 6th grade Math assessment and 4th grade English Language Arts assessment based on proficiency).
As part of the event, the Department of Education announced plans to distribute nearly $8 million in grants to the Maryland State Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Education to develop new and innovative ways to measure science achievement that can serve as models for other states.
The new administration of President Elect Donald Trump, will of course implement its own ideas and policies surrounding education issues.