School district to get rid of costly assessments

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The school district will save $11,000 by scrapping its new
internally designed student assessment in favor of chapter and unit
tests already built into textbooks. Using the internally developed
assessments would have cost the district an additional $26,000
annually.
The school district will save $11,000 by scrapping its new internally designed student assessment in favor of chapter and unit tests already built into textbooks. Using the internally developed assessments would have cost the district an additional $26,000 annually.

Last spring, the school board approved the locally developed assessment system, which went into effect in the fall at the elementary school level. But soon after, Superintendent Deborah Flores began hearing concerns from teachers about the amount of time the weekly assessments took out of class work, the cost of the assessment, its formatting, its poor alignment with the language arts and math standards, and the lack of involvement of teachers in developing the assessment, she told trustees Thursday night at a board of trustees meeting.

After several meetings with teachers and a survey conducted by the teachers union, the district concluded that teachers would prefer to use the assessments already provided in the textbooks.

Starting next week, the district will meet with teacher representatives from each of the elementary schools and begin developing a hybrid model that will allow teachers to use the textbook unit and chapter tests in conjunction with additional questions the district felt might be left out. Flores hopes the middle and high schools will reach a similar consensus on assessments in the coming months.

“We’re spending a lot of quality time talking about assessment in this district and I think that’s a good thing,” Flores said.

Switching over to the textbook assessments will cost the district about $15,000 in the first year and will be free in subsequent years, because the tests are already printed in the books being used. The $15,000 will cover the cost of uploading the chapter and unit tests into the district’s data bank, Flores said.

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