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February 11, 2016

Easing Of Testing Burden Focus of Education Bill

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A new bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) would alleviate the testing burden on both teachers and students.  There are two key components to Senate Bill 364: the number of state tests would be lowered from 32 to 24; and the weight of student test scores on a teacher's evaluation would be reduced.

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods today issued a press release stating his support for the bill.

"Not only are Georgia students suffering from over-testing, Georgia teachers are, too. We need to loosen the weight of test scores for teacher evaluation and fill the gap with a professional growth component, which is just what SB 364 proposes."

Specifically, SB 364 would ease teacher testing pressure in a few ways:

  • Currently, if a new student transfers into a classroom, even mid-term or late year, that student's test scores are counted in their teacher's evaluation score at the end of the year. SB 364 would mandate that only scores from students who have attended at least 80% of the school calendar year may be counted towards the teacher's evaluation.
  • Test scores used to calculate overall teacher effectiveness would be limited to 10% down from 50%. Additionally, a student's improvement in a particular subject matter would have greater emphasis over using only overall test scores.

Regarding student testing, SB 364 would:

  • Recognize English and Math proficiency levels in grades 1 and 2, rather than waiting until 3rd grade.  Math and English testing  intervention programs could be directed towards students who are in need of help.
  • Allow local districts greater flexibility in scheduling their testing dates. Currently, the testing window at the end of a school year is set from April 1 to May 1.
  • Eliminate tests that are duplicative of other local, state or national tests.
  • Provides more flexibility for End-of-Course testing including flexibility on which testing tools will be used to measure progress.

The Metro Chamber supports legislation that offers districts flexibility and that lessens the testing burden while maintaining valuable benchmark data on student achievement and progress.

 

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