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How important are standardized tests?


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The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Board is looking at a resolution that reflects the school system’s belief that the state Department of Education places too much stock in standardized tests.

Board members will consider passing the resolution during their first meeting of the year, which is Monday at Schmitt Elementary School. They also will choose new officers for 2013.

The resolution about standardized tests — such as ISTEP and the SAT — is one of the last items on the agenda that evening.

“We’ve gone on the record before about our objection to what the state’s doing,” Superintendent John Quick said. “We just want to send a message to the state Legislature that there’s simply too much high-stakes testing in our schools.”

 

Bill Jensen, director of secondary education for the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., has said the problem with standardized testing is the level of importance that the state places on it.

For example, the state uses the result of standardized tests for its controversial A-F accountability scale, which penalizes poor performance.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. improved significantly on that scale in results announced Oct. 31. It had only one A and three F’s among its schools in the 2010-2011 school year, while in 2011-2012 BCSC improved to 10 A’s and one F among its 15 schools.

Nevertheless, Jensen said it measures students far too narrowly, concentrating exclusively on math and English performance.

“You want to look at educating the whole child,” Quick said. “We rely too heavily on tests that are pass/fail. We don’t live in a pass/fail world.”

The school board on Monday also will elect officers among its members. And although Quick said he could not say for certain who the officers would be, he said the tradition has been for the vice president to move up to president.

Rich Stenner is the board’s current vice president. John Anderson, who was president last year, stepped down at year’s end.

Quick said the tradition also has been for the newly chosen president to name board members to the various committees and commissions based on the interests they express.

For example, Stenner will be nominated for the Gifted and Talented Committee, Jill Shedd will be nominated for the Corporation Continuous Improvement Council, and Kathy Dayhoff-Dwyer will be nominated for the Education Hall of Fame Committee.

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