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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 19, 2019 11:32 AM
From: Representative Seth M. Grove
To: All House members
Subject: Student Centered Assessment Pilot Program
One of the greatest challenges facing our education system today is reforming our antiquated approach to assessing educational progress and academic growth. The Iowa model, in use today, has been the accepted method for student assessment for over four decades. However, this approach fails to meet the needs of our students today. In order to meet the requirements for the standardized tests under the Iowa model, schools across the commonwealth often devote weeks of classroom instruction to prepare for the test.

The impact of “teaching the test” is well documented, as teaching for the standardized test fails to help students better understand the material. Instead of reviewing the subject in greater detail or going over material slowly for students who are struggling, teachers must focus their curriculum around the standardized tests. The reason for this is simple, schools are judged on their performance. In large part, a school’s performance is based on standardized test scores. Effectively, these tests take precedence over the needs of the student, as classroom instruction ends up teaching a test rather than mastery of a subject.

Not only do standardized tests take away from necessary instruction on a given subject, but the results fail to inform teachers of student performance or growth within a school year. The delay in providing teachers with test results prevents them from working in a targeted manner to help the students grow academically. Additionally, the test results often arrive too late for teachers to adjust their classroom plans for the following school year. As a result, the delayed notification inhibits a teacher’s ability to make any necessary adjustments to their classroom methods to help students the following year.

In order to provide students with more instruction time and provide teachers with quick results on student performance and academic growth, I plan to introduce legislation to move education forward. This legislation will direct the Department of Education to work with the state board and establish a pilot program utilizing new approaches to testing and technology to improve education. In particular, the program will allow school districts to use adaptive testing which tracks student performance and measures academic growth throughout the school year. Additionally, these tests will provide teachers with assessment results faster as school districts currently using adaptive testing have the results available within 24 hours.

For school districts in the pilot programs, these adaptive tests will replace standardized tests for grades 1-8. We believe this resource empowers teachers and will allow them to adjust their curriculum or teaching based upon the performance and academic growth of their students.

Please join me and co-sponsor this legislation to create a pilot program, which will create a student-centered assessment system. If you have any questions, please contact Jordan Grant by email at Jgrant@pahousegop.com or by phone at 717-767-3947.

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Introduced as HB1730