School board examines district testing methods
FRISCO – Seeking autonomy from uncompromising state evaluations and a more comprehensive method of student assessment, the Summit School District Board of Education discussed the district’s testing methods at its Sept. 14 meeting.No definite decisions were made regarding the district’s 11 current tests, but concern over the state’s method of evaluating Summit schools (the Colorado School Assessment Program, or CSAP) was clear. Given to students in grades 3-10, Summit’s districtwide goal for the CSAP is 85 percent proficiency in all areas. However, the “zero” scores of non-English speaking students unable to take the test pull the average down considerably. The state will continue to see the lower averages, but the board is seeking a more representative form of evaluation for its own purposes.The most comprehensive test Summit students currently take is the Northwestern Wisconsin Education Association test, administered to grades 2-10. Though the NWEA test was generally praised by the board, several members expressed doubt that any standardized test could accurately assess a student. “As we get further up through the grade levels, we have fewer and fewer effective (assessment) instruments,” board treasurer Stuart Adams said. “Our assessment tools, to me, seem pretty threadbare. I’m uncomfortable with that.”The majority of the district’s tests are given in elementary school to address “gaps in learning,” but as students mature and their academic growth is less dramatic, widespread-learning trends are harder to track. A portfolio-type evaluation is more comprehensive, said board member Jon Kreamelmeyer, but is open to subjectivity and is time-consuming.Still, the closest the board came to a consensus was an agreement that the ideal assessment would combine standardized results with the report of a portfolio.”Are we going to teach bubbling or are we going to teach education?” Kreamelmeyer asked.
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