The state’s largest teachers’ union is calling on Connecticut lawmakers to end the requirement that students take a statewide standardized test each spring.

Students will take a Common-Core-aligned test this Spring— the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC test — so the state can measure student progress in selected subject areas and grades.

“A child is more than a test score, and the time is now for the Connecticut General Assembly to act by phasing out SBAC,” Connecticut Education Association President Sheila Cohen said in a press release.

The CEA points to a poll they commissioned in January as proof that voters want students tested less. That poll of 500 likely voters from around the state reported they trusted using test scores to evaluate student learning much less than using student performance on projects and grades they receive from teachers. (See the poll and questions here.)

The CEA has started an online petition and plans to spend at least $250,000 on an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the topic. (See them here).

The union is proposing a state panel be created to decide which test students already take will replace the Common-Core-aligned test. The CEA also wants the test to count less toward school ratings.

Moving the state away from annual testing is a long shot, since the federal government requires it. The state is in the process of using additional measures to rate schools in addition to the SBAC test scores, such as graduation rates and chronic absentee rates.

The union believes the state panel could ensure a smooth switch to different tests and still comply with federal law.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has tried to get school districts to cut down on the number of tests they require. On Monday, the State Department of Education announced 48 districts have received money to study reducing standardized tests.

“Tests are important tools in the teaching and learning toolbox that helps track student progress towards success in college and careers. But, it’s also important to ensure that the already crowded schedules of our students are not filled with too many tests,” the Democratic governor said in a press release announcing the district grants. “This grant will support local efforts to eliminate tests that do not contribute to student learning, and, in doing so, increase time for classroom instruction.”

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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