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Task force urges lawmakers to scrap some standardized tests

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DENVER -- Months after hundreds of Colorado 12th graders protested and refused to take state-mandated tests, it appears they are one step closer to the change they were hoping for.

A Colorado task force is recommending that legislators do away with state-mandated tests for 12th and 11th graders in addition to scaling back the frequency and overall number of standardized tests given to all students K-12.

In a long-awaited presentation to the Joint Education Committee, the Colorado Standards and Assessment Task Force noted that standardized tests provide valuable data about students and schools, but it found that the current testing system “has created far too many demands on time, logistics, and finances that are impacted the teaching and learning process”.

For the past year the task force has been studying the impact of state and local assessments, talking to the public, educators and experts. You can read the entire report here.

Here are some of the highlights of the task force’s recommendations:

  • Eliminate state-mandated tests in 12th grade.
  • Eliminate state-mandated tests in 11th grade except a college entrance exam.
  • Allow more time for Kindergarten students to take the first READ Act assessment. (90 days from the start of school instead of immediately)
  • If Kindergarten students are proficient in the READ Act assessment, do not require them to take additional assessments during that school year.
  • Allow schools and students the opportunity to use paper and pencil tests.

In his State of the State Address earlier this month, Gov. John Hickenlooper indicated that he is open to reducing statewide testing requirements.

Should lawmakers adopt the changes suggested by the task force, the earliest they could be implemented is the 2015-16 school year.


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