District expects teachers to give tests

The Renton School District sticks by its district goals and seems unfazed by recent concern by teachers over Common Core State Standards testing.

The Renton School District sticks by its district goals and seems unfazed by recent concern by teachers over Common Core State Standards testing.

More and more teachers have been expressing their concerns at school board meetings about administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the Common Core tests.

This spring grades 3 to 8 and 11 will have to take the assessments. Some teachers have said that they are considering not giving the tests.

In an interview with District Spokesperson Randy Matheson, he affirmed, via email the district’s work to ensure that students learn at high levels and realize their full potential.

When asked if district officials are concerned about the number of teachers who are considering leaving the profession, Matheson had this to say:

“Teachers make employment decisions based on many factors, personal and professional. We’re confident in our work to provide teachers with meaningful curriculum and teaching materials, professional development, and compensate them competitively so that they can do their best in classrooms to teach and support student growth.”

Matheson did not lay out any strict consequences when asked what would be the penalty for teachers not administering the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

“Our teachers have worked hard in the past, administering state tests along with local and classroom assessments, as part of a balanced assessment system to evaluate, monitor and improve student progress,” said Matheson. “We’re confident our teachers are up to the challenge of implementing the new state Smarter Balance Assessment, which now replaces the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, Measurements of Student Progress and the High School Proficiency Exams.”

The district’s approach to testing is balanced, Matheson said, in classroom tests, district-level assessments and state assessments. The tests give teachers and the district a more complete picture of students’ ability to think analytically, creatively and critically, according to Matheson.

He reminds critics that similar discomfort was felt by teachers when the state’s Measurement of Student Progress (MSP), High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE) and the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) were all new.

“We, like the nearly 300 other school districts across the state, are implementing the new Smarter Balance Assessments (SBA) at select grade levels,” Matheson wrote. “The SBA measures our students’ level of proficiency and knowledge on Common Core State Standards and replaces the state’s Measurement of Student Progress (MSP). Similarly, when the MSP/HSPE and the WASL were new, we experienced the challenges of change, which is difficult when coupled with our commitment to support student success.”


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