A few weeks ago, I ran into state Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta) at Kroger and she told me about her bill to end mandatory CRCT testing in the early grades. House Bill 1132 has been introduced and it eliminates mandatory criterion-referenced competency tests in grades one and two.
The bill has the wide support of education groups that question the efficacy and point of high-stakes testing in first and second grades.
“This is in line with recommendations of most national professional organizations that serve young children. And it is also more consistent with national trends. Only one state also tests in grade 1. Six test grade 2 — but some states count a 5-minute reading test in that total,” says early child education professor Caitlin McMunn Dooley of Georgia State University
“The general consensus of professionals in education is that large-scale, standardized tests are inappropriate for children prior to grade 3. This is especially true in Georgia, where the test takes 110-165 minutes per day of testing. This is a very long time for 6-year-olds to sit, much less take a test. The national average of the few states that do have testing at these grade levels (total of six) is more than an hour less than Georgia,” says Dooley.
It should go to committee next week Another bill in play is state Sen. Tommie Williams’ Senate Bill 352, which is a far broader legislation that essentially rewrites testing in Georgia from top to bottom. While the bill has excellent aims, it seems to have too many ambitions and moving parts to pass this session. Perhaps, it will be stripped down to a simpler bill that focuses only on the elimination of the CRCT in the early grades.
Now, the bill states:
To amend Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the “Quality Basic Education Act,” so as to require the State Board of Education to include a growth model as a primary factor in its calculation of adequate yearly growth; to assign annual individual school ratings for each public school in this state for academic performance on designated tests; to establish thresholds for measurement of performance; to provide for criteria for school ratings; to provide for bonuses to schools based on appropriations; to provide for consequences; to provide for transmission of data from the Department of Education; to provide for audit exceptions for failure to timely provide such data; to eliminate criterion-referenced competency tests in grades one and two; to replace the Georgia High School Graduation Test with end-of-course assessments for graduation purposes beginning in the 2010-2011 school year; to revise provisions for purposes of conformity; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Take a look at the bills and let me know what you think. I think it’s a great idea.