Teacher groups opposing so-called high stakes tests

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By Shauna Johnson 
WV MetroNews

Those with the West Virginia Education Association are still part of the national chorus that’s calling for a moratorium on standardized testing in schools — at least until the Common Core standards are fully implemented.

“We have to get away from this high stakes testing and really use testing for what it was designed to do which is to chart a student’s growth individually, not to judge schools or teachers or anything else,” said Dale Lee, president of the WVEA.

“We have to get away from teaching to a test, preparing to teach for a test, preparing for a test. We spend more than 35 days a year, in the 180 days, either practicing testing or preparing for tests or testing. That’s just too much.”

Lee was part of the National Education Association’s annual meeting in Denver, Co. earlier this month. During that meeting, the NEA adopted a resolution that said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan should resign for, what they called, a “failed education agenda.”

Those with the American Federation of Teachers opened their annual convention in Los Angeles, Ca. on Friday. While there, Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, announced the organization’s plans to underwrite projects from teachers that would be created to improve Common Core.

The Common Core standards are expectations of what every student should know in math and reading from kindergarten through 12th grade. Both unions have supported those standards, but have opposed the use of new standardized tests, based on Common Core, to evaluate teacher effectiveness.

In West Virginia, Lee said teachers helped develop the curriculums to meet the Common Core standards but, he said, those curriculums go beyond a single test score.

“Teachers invented tests. I mean, that’s how we see how well our students are doing, how well they’re grasping the material that we cover. But there’s a lot of different ways to test the students,” he said.