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State Will Search for Ways to Improve Student Testing

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State Will Search for Ways to Improve Student Testing
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The Mississippi Department of Education will soon perform a complete examination of how students are tested. MPB's Mark Rigsby reports.


It's called the Mississippi Student Testing Task Force. The state Department of Education says a mix of legislators and educators, as well as students and parents will be on it. Their goal is to analyze state and district level testing, and find ways to make it better. Carey Wright is State Superintendent of Education.

"So, what we've got to figure out is, what tests are being administered, with what frequency, for what purpose, and how are the data being used to inform decisions being made in the classroom?"

A recent study by Mississippi First, a group focused on education advocacy, policy, and research, found student testing is inconsistent based on feedback from four anonymous school districts. Executive Director Rachel Canter says some level of testing is valuable and important, but some tests are not useful.

"Districts have power over their own destiny in terms of testing. They can choose to have fewer tests, shorter tests, and to better use the data that's generated."

Mississippi First recommends MDE play a bigger support role in testing, help districts audit their testing practices, and help determine the best use of instructional time. The task force is expected to present its report by the end of the year.