In an effort to provide more instruction time for stat tests and keep students more engaged after taking them, the new-look state Board of Education on Thursday voted unanimously to open the annual testing window on or after April 20 and keep it open for 20 school days.
Currently, the window for testing students in grades three through eight opens on the first instructional day in April and closes at the end of the first week in May.
“We want our schools to be able to test as close as possible to the end of the school year,” state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister told the board Thursday. “We want every day to count for students and this will facilitate that.”
The meeting was the first for new members Brian Bobeck, Kurt Bollenbach, Carlisha Williams Bradley, Estela Hernandez, and Jennifer Monies. Each recently was appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, who also reappointed William Flanagan, Hofmeister, an elected official, fills out the panel.
Hofmeister announced that, for the first time, parents will be able to access preliminary state test scores before the end of May, thanks to online testing implemented last month for some students. She told the board that parents would be able to view scores online as early as Friday and possibly sooner.
“Potentially even tonight, we’ll see,” she said. “We don’t want to make any promises until it’s actually ready.”
In April and early May, students in grades four through eight took online assessments in subjects that included math and English language arts while third graders used paper and pencil.
Those students are expected to transition to online testing by the spring of 2021, said Carolyn Thompson, chief of government affairs for the state Education Department.
“As we take more of our assessments online we are able to more quickly turn around the results,” she said.
Hofmeister said getting the scores before the start of summer vacation–even if preliminary–will benefit parents.
“We think this is all about engaging parents around the support of their student’s education, and this is one step we will take,” she said.