Saturday, September 17, 2011

The State Op-Ed: South Carolina parent asks why students cannot opt out of high stakes assessment

In a September 7, 2011 Op-ed published in South Carolina's newspaper, The State, parent Sarah Johnson asked why the carefully organized individual education plan (IEP) for special education students is pushed aside and "a seventh-grader who is reading on a first-grade level due to a low IQ will be tested on the seventh-grade level. That means he is being tested on material he has not been taught and on levels he cannot comprehend. This is not only unfair and cruel, but completely useless to the teacher and student."

Johnson says that South Carolina "spends millions of dollars on these tests, when we could instead just let our teachers use work samples, or a running record of achievement, or countless other methods to show a student’s progress. We need to eliminate the state standardized tests and use the money where it is actually needed: in the classroom. The less time spent on preparing for and administering The Test, the more time there is for valuable teaching and learning."

She was informed that the school district does not have the authority to excuse students from testing; but last year her son, a special-needs student was allowed to sit out based on her parental refusal.

Read the entire Op-Ed here.

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