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More Wisconsin Students to Receive Standardized Testing

Ohanian Comment: It is good to see people in high positions speaking out against the brave new world of testing. Thank you, Deputy State Superintendent Evers.

The number of Wisconsin students taking statewide standardized tests will grow by about 80 percent next year, as the state tries to meet the requirements by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The law requires the state to have a system in the 2005-'06 school year to test every student in third through eighth grades and in 10th grade in reading and math.

The change will increase the number of students taking statewide standardized tests each year from 250,000 to 450,000.

Under the current system, Wisconsin third-graders are tested in reading, and fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders are tested in reading, math, language arts, social studies and science.

But under the new plan, fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders will continue to be tested in those five subjects, with the other grades doing the reading and math tests required by federal law.

It's a change that Department of Public Instruction leaders are implementing only under pressure from the federal law.

"We're now in the brave new world of No Child Left Behind and multiple tests at every grade level," said Tony Evers, deputy state superintendent of schools. "In order to figure out if we're leaving kids behind, that means we test them till the cows come home."

The state's largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, doesn't like the new system, either.

"This is one of those federal mandates, the 'one size fits all' approach to education," said Stan Johnson, state president.

But President Bush cites No Child Left Behind as one of the main achievements of his administration. He suggested in his speech at the Republic National Convention last week that if re-elected, he likely would propose federally required high school graduation tests.

A a parent-led movement in Wisconsin several years ago had stopped a statewide high school graduation test from being launched, after it was put into law with strong support from former Gov. Tommy G. Thompson.

Wisconsin has not had trouble meeting the goals for student performance set by the law. But schools are under increasing pressure as the required levels of statewide performance keep going up.

— Associated Press
Duluth News Tribune


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