Stating that standardized testing has taken the focus away from developing the “whole child,” TUSD Governing Board Member Kristel Ann Foster is calling for the Arizona Department of Education to reduce the weight given to high stakes assessments when assigning letter grades.
Foster is presenting a resolution at tonight’s Tucson Unified School District Governing Board meeting that endorses a system in which the state would factor in other measures to give a better growth index for schools, teachers, the “whole child” and his or her annual progress.
In her resolution, Foster notes that 97 percent of letter grades are based on one test — AIMS — and that the pressure of high stakes testing has transformed education so that the majority of work done with students often feels like preparation for the “one-shot test.”
The resolution goes on to say that standardized tests along with budget cuts have narrowed the curriculum, experiences and opportunities for writing, art, music, P.E., science and social studies as teachers focus on reading and math skills that will be assessed.
Under the resolution, TUSD would support a diversified assessment system that would allow individual districts to more fully develop skills and knowledge, multiple perspectives, languages and intelligences of the whole child.
The resolution is being presented as the state works to identify a new assessment to replace AIMS.
TUSD earned a grade of C this year under Arizona's accountability system. Twelve TUSD campuses earned A's, 26 earned B's, 33 received C's, and 11 were rated D. Of the D schools, two are facing the possibility of being labeled failing should they not prevail in an appeals process set to wrap up by the end of the month.
Today's TUSD Governing Board meeting will be held at 1010 E. 10th Street at 6 p.m.