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Concerns about the emphasis of standardized tests continue

Concerns about the emphasis of standardized tests continue
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Standardized Test

Education officials in Mississippi are trying to keep standardized testing scores and students' final grades separate. MPB Ashley Norwood reports.

Members of the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation are proposing to temporarily eliminate part of the state board of education's policy on subject-area tests. Starting in the upcoming school year, students' assessment scores were slated to constitute 25 percent of their final grade. But, the commission wants to keep the subject area test scores separate over concerns about the emphasis on state testing.

Paula Vanderford is with the Mississippi Department of Education.

"Students actually take those assessments the last day or two before they dismiss for holidays. Districts were concerned that we wouldn't have those scores back in time. We had a number of concerns regarding us having to assess students earlier in the year and they would actually lose instructional time before the assessment being administered," said Vanderford.

Joyce Helmick, with the Mississippi Association of Educators, says the move could take a load off of students and teachers.

"This test-taking culture that we have right now in our schools is causing so much stress for our students and our teachers. It is causing students to not want to go to school if they don't want to take these tests they are nervous about it, they think if they fail they are failures," said Helmick.

Vanderford says in the meantime, a statewide task force is underway to discuss options to address the public's concerns about testing. She says the Board of Education will vote on the proposal at its meeting next week.

Ashley Norwood, MPB News.