If Huff and his top-level administrative team have their way, kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders will soon have to go through just as many practice standardized tests as the other students in the school district.
During a special 3:30 p.m. meeting of the R-8 Board of Education Tuesday in the Irving Elementary School cafeteria, the board will decide whether to spend nearly $300,000 on an assessment program, which will include at least four practice standardized tests per year.
The cost for the first year is just under $100,000, according to the documentation.
And the wording makes it clear that the district will also be using results on these practice tests to evaluate teachers.
Under Acuity, the district not only had practice tests, which often took days, but schools' results began to be compared with each other, which led to practice tests to prepare for the practice tests. If students were still not doing well on the tests, teachers were to individualize instruction- and give those students practice tests to prepare for the practice tests to prepare for the practice tests to prepare for the actual statewide standardized tests.
Teachers were pulled out of classes to create curriculum that was based on the content of these practice tests.
Now it is starting all over again with this testing regimen, which is based on preparing students for the new Common Core tests.
According to the request, which is signed off on by Curriculum Director Sarah Stevens, Executive Director of Secondary Instruction Jason Cravens, and Superintendent C. J. Huff, (and which is also being pushed by Executive Director of Elementary Instruction Jennifer Doshier) the NWEA Measure of Academic Progress Interim Assessment will do the following: (Warning- Jargon Straight Ahead)
-NWEA MAP Interim Assessments provide essential information about a student's progress of learning and growth trajectory against essential standards and skills up to four times a year.
-Will assist teachers personalizing instruction in order to maximize every student's academic growth
-Will assist principals in tracking the achievement and growth of individual students and classrooms in order to help evaluate the success of programs
-Enables administration to understand the progress of every school, classroom, and student in the district.
-Sets up the experience to be about goal setting for self-regulated learning, parent involvement, and differentiated learning
-Provides percentile ranking for national achievement and growth norms for state standards, including college and career readiness standards
The cost for this testing program is broken down as follows:
-Licensing for grades K-12 will cost $87,488.75 annually
-The science program is done separately and will cost $3,000 the first year, with no set amount for succeeding years, meaning it could cost the district even more.
-$9,200 for professional development
The first year will cost $99,668.75.
Bids were taken for the testing program, but the Northwest Evaluation Assocation (NWEA) package was chosen because it was the only one that offers testing for grades K-2.
It should be noted that the Huff Administration is asking the board (and the taxpayers) to spend nearly $300,000 during a time in which the district is already reeling financially- and it is asking that money be spent for the same type of program that taxpayers spent more than half a million dollars on, and which resulted in test scores dropping every year.