Feds Allow Four N.H. School Districts To Try A New Approach On Standardized Tests

Mar 16, 2015

Last week four New Hampshire districts received federal approval to reduce the number of required standardized tests. This pilot program, the first-of-its-kind in the country, will replace most ‘Smarter Balanced’ tests with assessments written by local teachers. In doing so, the hope is to make testing more representative of what students know, and less of a disruption to day-to-day learning.

Credit timlewisnm / Flickr/cc

Guests:

  • Sam Evans-Brown: NHPR's education and environment reporter
  • Aubrey Scheopner Torres: assistant professor in the education department at Saint Anselm College and research consultant for the Northeast College and Career Readiness Research Alliance
  • Ellen Hume Howard: curriculum director for the Sanborn School District

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Nashua Telegraph: Amherst's Souhegan School District 1 of 4 NH districts to pilot locally developed assessment -- "As New Hampshire schools get ready to launch the controversial Smarter Balanced Assessment this month, the U.S. Department of Education is allowing an alternative pilot assessment in four districts, including the Souhegan Cooperative School District in Amherst and Mont Vernon. New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment for Competency Education, or PACE, reduces the frequency of statewide standardized testing and hands control to local districts for managing and grading PACE material."

Union Leader: NH gets approval to pilot competence-based testing -- "The program allows the districts to reduce the frequency of standardized testing in favor of locally managed assessments based on multi-day tasks that will be built into a student’s day-to-day work. The four districts worked closely with N.H. Department of Education over the past three years to develop the program. The DOE invited all districts in the state to participate in 2012, starting with teacher training workshops in performance-based assessments."

PACE Pilot Overview from the New Hampshire Department of Education -- "This new approach does not change the state’s firm commitment to accountability for the purposes of improving student learning and outcomes, especially for educationally disadvantaged student groups, as well as supporting high quality educator, leader, and school support and evaluation systems. However, the State argues that an improvement focused approach improves how the state collects and uses information to better meet the needs of educators and students in New Hampshire."