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School leaders would like to see less testing in Virginia classrooms

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Posted at 12:10 PM, Jan 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-15 12:38:24-05

RICHMOND, Va. —  The 20-year model that Virginia has used for public education and keeping schools accountable is ready for a make-over. That was the headline from Thursday’s meeting for state superintendents at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

One part of the makeover, that might make students happy, was less testing.

The Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) released a new blueprint for the future of public education. The blueprint represented months of research and discussion about what they’re doing right and wrong and what made the most sense in educating and preparing students for the future.

One thing standing out was their assessment that the 40 to 50 question multiple choice tests taken at a prescribed moment in time for all students being the primary tool has passed.

Here are some of the VASS recommendations:

  • Develop standards defining what’s being learned and how to apply it.
  • Revise curriculum so that it develops understanding and cognitive skills.
  • Find alternative ways for students to accrue credits outside s-o-l testing.
  • Plan initiatives to assess and address each student’s reading and math ability.
  • Vary learning time and how to teach kids based on their learning differences.
  • Expand pre-k for all children.

Chesterfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marcus J. Newsome said the only way this would work was with help from Virginia lawmakers.

“We’ve been working on this blueprint for several years,” Dr. Newsome said. “We hope our legislators take note of it and make practical decisions and laws that will support effective learning and teaching for our students and prepare them for the 21st century.”

The new plan may need new funding. The VASS said funding for public education must be increased.

The Virginia General Assembly is meeting now for the 2015 session.

In his State of the Commonwealth address, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he’d fight to not cut a single dollar from funding K-12 education.

Click here to read the entire VASS blueprint.