Chesterfield School Board supports SOL test reduction, calls for change

Posted at 11:49 PM, Dec 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-11 07:17:03-05

CHESTERFIELD  COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - The Chesterfield County School Board unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday asking Virginia legislators to reexamine the state's standardized testing practices.

According to a memorandum sent to the board by Superintendent Dr . Marcus Newsome on Tuesday, the board supports a reduction in the number of standardized test assessments students must take and pass.

School Board member Carrie Coyner said it is time for change with regards to Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOLs) assessments.

"If something is not going right, if we keep measuring it, do we make it better?" Coyner said.

Coyner acknowledged there needs to be a statewide teaching standard.

"They did create this process to ensure out students were receiving instruction across an entire curriculum," Coyner said.

But, Coyner and her board colleagues agreed that the General Assembly needs to reassess Virginia's testing practices.

"It has become so testing driven and intensive that we are actually spending more time doing benchmarks and in testing mode in our schools versus in learning and growth mode," Coyner said.

Chesterfield parent Judy Elmore is thankful her children's school system  is taking initiative on an issue she is passionate about.

Elmore has two daughters and one of them excels in school, while the other daughter struggles because she has learning disabilities.

"To think of both of my daughters with their abilities so different to have to pass the same test it doesn't work that way," Elmore said.

Elmore said there might be a better way to hold teachers accountable without putting that pressure on her daughters.

"That doesn't require the children sitting for 30 plus tests over their school career," Elmore said.

CBS6 reached out to a spokesperson for Governor Bob McDonnell on Tuesday night for his response to Chesterfield's resolution, but we have not heard back from him yet.

Investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit did look up Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe's campaign website and found he supports reforming the SOLs.