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Michael Vaughn

A Colorado Call for an ‘Honest Conversation’ on Testing

In the wake of testing opt-out protests by seniors at a few Colorado high schools, the Denver Post’s Alicia Caldwell wrote a commentary titled The Myth of Too Much Testing. It calls out some of the posturing on the issue while also highlighting the areas of concerns that need to be addressed. She points to hard facts on how much actual classroom time Colorado students spend taking standardized tests:
They're being asked to spend a maximum of 0.6 percent of their school year on social studies and science assessments. Those numbers were compiled by the state Department of Education. And the reason they're even being tested as seniors is due to a collaboratively made decision to avoid overloading juniors.
And she suggests that maybe this uproar isn’t entirely about testing of social studies and science—that perhaps there’s a little drama in there as well.
Let's have an honest conversation about what is going on with concern over testing and talk about reasonable solutions. First, any attempt to use consternation over social studies and science tests to raise objections to Common Core ought to be seen as the political opportunism that it is. They are not part of Common Core, which involves language arts and math.
And she even offers some reasonable solutions—considering shortening some tests and seeing if there are ways “to better structure and schedule assessments so they pose fewer conflicts with local tests and college boards”—which echo the recent call from the Council of Great City Schools and the Council of Chiefs and State School Officers. Caldwell brings some much-needed straight talk and clear light to the testing debate.
Michael Vaughn
Michael Vaughn was the founding Communications Director of Education Post. Prior to that, Mike worked for 18 years in the communications offices of two urban school districts. He served in a variety of communications roles for the Chicago Public Schools starting in 1996, shortly after Mayor Richard M. Daley took control of CPS, and eventually served as the district's Communications Director until ...

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