Schools to require less standardized testing

Elementary teachers expect a few more days of instruction next Spring following the elimination of certain standardized tests.

Shelby County Schools Testing Coordinator Susan Seng said the change brings a bit of relief for teachers and students.

“It really was especially hard on third–grade kids because it was their first year testing and we were throwing a lot at them,” Seng said. “It won’t quite cut the testing in half, but it will help.”

Students in grades three through eight will no longer be required to take the language, science and social science portions of the SAT–10 test. Only sixth–grade students currently took the social science portion.

No Child Left Behind mandates schools test students in reading, math and science, Seng said. But the schools cover this requirement through the SAT–10 and the Alabama Science Assessment.

Seng said the tests do help with curriculum decisions, but she said it is not their only barometer for student achievement.

“This is just one given week of the year,” Seng said. “The classroom assessments are so much more important because the teachers see their progress day–to–day.”

A certain percentage of students must continue to pass standardized tests for a school to meet Annual Yearly Progress goals. The law also now requires schools bring students up to grade level for math and reading by 2014.