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Boston: New Superintendent Reduces Testing Overload!

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Now here is good news!

The new superintendent of the Boston Public Schools Brenda Casellius announced a reduction of district tests.

This does not affect the state-mandated tests, but it is a welcome acknowledgement that students need more instruction, not more testing.

School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius has announced a moratorium on district-mandated standardized tests, according to a Sept. 19 memo to school leaders.

To read the memo, click here.

“For this school year, we will take a pause in requiring that schools administer specific assessments,” the memo says.

It also announces an end to “End-of-Year” district assessments in English Language Arts and math, and says BPS will stop giving the Terra Nova standardized test to students in grades four and five. That test has been used to decide which students should be invited to Advanced Work Class (AWC) for the following year. The Terra Nova will still be given in third grade as a gateway to AWC in grade four.

The memo does recommend continued use of certain reading tests and district assessments that are used to evaluate students’ academic progress during the year. “Administration of these assessments is highly recommended,” Cassellius wrote, “but completely optional.”

(MCAS tests are not affected by the new policy because they are mandated by the state, not BPS.)

Cassellius says one reason for the new policy is to “shift attention from executing the status quo to … reflecting upon our practice.”

This is a welcome contrast with New York City, where a spokesperson recently declared that there would be four additional off-the-shelf standardized tests each year, to prepare for the state tests.


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