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Testing 'innovation committee' presents second round of recommendations

Testing 'innovation committee' presents second round of recommendations

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Recommendations from state education leaders submitted to the governor's office Wednesday call for changes to Virginia's graduation requirements and standardized testing procedures, among other things.

The innovation committee, appointed last year by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, presented seven broad recommendations that if implemented, would change how student and school success is measured in Virginia.

This is the committee's second round of recommendations. Many of the suggestions from last year have been implemented, such as changes to the school accreditation rankings.

The committee, whose members include Salem Superintendent Alan Seibert, Roanoke County testing director Ben Williams and Roanoke teacher Wade Whitehead, issued seven broad recommendations.

Here are some of the committee's ideas:

  • Adjust graduation requirements and curriculum models based on the skills state education leaders determine students should have by the time they graduate. This could include different allowing school districts to substitute tests like the PSAT for graduation requirements, It could also opportunities for students to earn credit through technical credentials, apprenticeships or internships or through dual enrollment classes.
  • Shorten the state standardized tests (the Standards of Learning tests) and replace some with locally assessed tests that teachers and administrators in each school district could develop. The committee recommends tests that "require students to construct responses rather than selecting answers."
  • Continue to revise the state accreditation standards so that they include other measures of success besides test scores. The committee suggests indicators like graduation rate, attendance, school climate and local financial support.
  • Provide alternate assessments to students with disabilities and students who are learning English.

Read the full report here.

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