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Connecticut Education Association News Release

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE:
Other states are moving forward with plans to reduce high-pressure testing

March 19, 2015

HARTFORD, CT—In testimony before the Education Committee tonight, CEA leaders will bust the myth that the U.S. Department of Education is not open to flexibility to address the excessive testing and test prep hurting schoolchildren in Connecticut.

CEA President Sheila Cohen says, "The assertion that Connecticut must have the SBAC test has assumed mythic proportions. It is time to dispel the myths. It is imperative that state legislators recognize the innovative options that other states are accessing. And it is Connecticut's obligation to rescue our schools that are mired in high-pressure testing."

Just this week, the U.S. Department of Education approved New Hampshire's approach to reduce standardized testing in favor of more meaningful, local assessments that support teaching and learning. And on the heels of this announcement came news from North Carolina that it is exploring an assessment model that puts adequate focus on student growth over time.

Cohen says, "Twenty-one states have been designing their own assessments. Already this month, that list is growing. We urge legislators to consider our CEA plan that utilizes progress monitoring tests. Contrasted with the flawed and invalid SBAC, progress tests provide more learning time, immediate adjustment of instructional strategies to help children, and more personal attention for our students."

Among the misinformation that CEA leaders will quash: the idea that SBAC results can improve teaching and learning in a timely and effective manner; the notion that all students are prepared to handle the poorly designed SBAC software; and the claim that SBAC has been validated and is reliable as a measure of student growth and development.

CEA proposes a multi-pronged approach that improves accountability, reduces testing by eliminating SBAC, and focuses on student learning and growth. CEA leaders tonight will provide testimony as they testify on Raised Bill 1095, An Act Concerning Student Assessments.

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg explains, "Our plan guarantees more instructional time for students so that teachers can instill a love of learning and give children the opportunities they deserve. This involves using a progress-test approach already used by many school districts. This curriculum-based approach assesses growth and grade equivalence, allows for comparison between districts around the state, and complies with federal law. Unlike SBAC, progress tests provide immediate information to teachers, who can quickly and effectively respond to student needs and create individualized learning plans."



The Connecticut Education Association represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut.


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