Teachers and parents alike seek relief from stringent testing rules, such as public school scores based on reading and math test results
Although Washington and the Department of Education reassured parents and teachers nationwide that things would change regarding “over-testing” of students and schools, and that more flexibility would be allowed, one state, in particular, is testing Washington’s promise.
Arizona passed a law in 2016 that allows charter and traditional school staff to select the test (standardized) that they believe best suits the teaching methods of each individual school.
Essentially, Arizona eradicated the concept of identical tests issued by the state-administered to all schools, choosing instead to allow the Arizona Educational Board to provide a list of tests for schools to choose from.
Schools have the right to request new tests be added to the Educational Board’s menu if they can provide enough evidence that a certain test fits well with the school’s own, unique methods of teaching.
School leaders throughout Arizona praise the legislation for allowing schools to benefit from customized, appropriate tests
Paul Boyer, chairman of the Education Committee, said that schools offering tests that are compatible with their individual curriculum will benefit teachers and students alike, allowing teachers to allocate less time to tests and more time to teaching their students.
CEO of a popular charter school, Peter Bezanson, commented that forcing schools to use tests that are inappropriately suited – particularly high-quality schools – is a huge waste of both resources and time.
Arizona’s bold move in moving forward towards reducing the use of standardized state tests may push educational policymakers to continue to draft legislation allowing schools and states to take back the ability to make decisions.