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February 26, 2014

City School to accommodate test refusals

(Continued)

UNIFIED STATEMENT

Short said he would draft a unified statement to be given to district parents who opt their children out of the exams.

“We’ll have one district response that will be going out to them saying we are required to do testing but we’re going to honor parental rights above all other things and create a respectful environment,” he said.

Additional staff will be needed at the elementary level to supervise students not taking the exams, the superintendent noted, as teachers will be occupied in the testing rooms.

Board member Amelia Goerlitz asked at the recent meeting how the district’s state-generated teacher and building scores will be affected by students opting out.

“If we fall below a 95 percent testing rate, we could become identified as a school in need of improvement because we didn’t test enough students,” Short replied.

However, he continued, “that personally doesn’t worry me because it wasn’t that our teachers (or) our administrators chose not to test students; it was a parental decision.”

TEACHER EVALUATIONS

If by chance all the students who opted out also showed the most academic growth, Short noted, it would make for a lower teacher score.

However, he continued, the district’s way of evaluating teachers is mainly focused on direct classroom observation and other measures of student growth.

“We didn’t put as much stock in the state score in terms of its value to us for a teacher performance because we see the nuances of the state test being changed every year,” Short said.

Also during the session, board members Robert Hall, Fred Wachtmeister and Ron Marino expressed their approval of the City School District’s decision to accommodate students who are opted out.

“In this time in their life, I think it’s excellent that they’re not made to feel bad about that,” Marino said. 

Email Ashleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com

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