Our elementary and middle school students have recently completed the annual PSSAs. In some neighboring districts (thankfully not ours), academic standards and standardized tests are being criticized and some families (less than 1%) are “opting out” of standardized testing.
One of my UCF school board collegues, Jeff Hellrung, recently wrote an OpEd in defense of standards:
When you send your children to school, don’t you want to know that they can perform to clear and reasonable standards that will give them foundational skills for eventual readiness for college or careers? We have those standards in our public schools. They are the PA Academic Standards. We also have valid and reliable assessments to determine whether or not students have mastered the standards. These are our PSSA tests which are given in grades 3-8 in language arts and math and in grades 4 and 8 in science.
Jeff makes a good argument for keeping standards and tests: they provide valuable information to administrators on the effectiveness of curriculum and programs, and to teachers on the progress of individual students.
To the credit of our educators, Jeff notes that standards and annual testing enjoys strong support at UCF:
our past and current Unionville-Chadds Ford Superintendents and teachers have embraced our state standards and accepted accountability for the performance of our students. They have used the PSSA results to address the particular needs of each student. They have ensured that our students are prepared for but not overstressed taking those tests.
I will be exploring this issue in greater depth on the blog in coming weeks. The full version of Jeff’s comments can be found at the Unionville Times here.