Madison, Ind., school district calls for end to standardized testing

Madison, Ind., school district calls for end to standardized testing
Schools like Anderson Elementary spend hours and hours working with students to prepare them to take multiple kinds of standardized tests each year. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

MADISON, Ind. (WAVE) - Sick of standardized testing, one southern Indiana school district says it has had enough.

The Madison Consolidated School Board passed a resolution during a meeting this month, calling for an end to overuse and misuse of standardized testing.

Schools like Anderson Elementary in Madison, Ind., teach kids reading, writing and math. But schools also spend valuable classroom time preparing students for standardized testing.

“It’s huge,” said Diana Wehner, special education teacher at Anderson Elementary School. “I think it’s every teacher’s concern, too.”

Students in Madison take NWEA testing, taken three times a year to measure student knowledge and their improvement. But that’s not all; they also join all schools statewide in the spring with the iLEARN exam.

“It seems as though we’ve reached a point where we’re over-testing, we’re placing way too much emphasis on a test, and that’s only one way of knowing what a kid knows,” said Jeff Studebaker, Superintendent Madison Consolidated Schools.

How students perform on some tests determines a school’s grade. Madison Consolidated students did well with iLEARN this year, Studebaker said, but that’s not the point. He said there is too much testing, and not all of it carries serious weight for helping schools measure serious growth.

Now, district leaders are calling for a change to how they and the state test learning.

“So this isn’t coming from a sour grapes perspective; it’s a real space,” Studebaker said. “We are concerned about what we’re asking our kids to do, we’re concerned about being able to show what our kids are able to do for real, and not on some test.”

Schools like Anderson Elementary spend hours and hours working with students to prepare them to take multiple kinds of standardized tests each year. But the district is hoping for change, passing a resolution through the school board, calling for an end to what they say is the overuse and misuse of standardized testing.

The board’s resolution calls on Congress to reduce testing mandates and for state lawmakers to find a testing method that’s not excessive and can accurately measure learning.

Wehner said it’s not about scrapping testing students altogether, just doing it in a way that’s better for schools and students.

“There has to be accountability, so it’s not a waste of time,” Wehner said. “I think the tool we’re using right now needs to be different.”

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