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Local school districts debate cutting back on standardized tests in future

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a fight parents, teachers, and school leaders have had for years. Now it’s possible kids could spend less time taking standardized tests.

On Tuesday, a committee meeting discussed changes in standardized testing. It could possibly change the future of test-taking for students in Richmond County.

Parents say these changes are necessary moving forward.

“I think standardized testing, in general, is a double-edged sword.”

Jennifer Flagge is a parent of the Richmond County School System. She’s been homeschooling her five kids for a couple of years now through the district.

“I think there are pros and cons to standardized testing. I think we put too much weight on standardized testing,” she said.

But that’s one thing the school board wants to change.

“I think it could be great I think it depends on what will be in its place.”

Here’s what would be in place of testing:

The district would use input from teachers, parents, and placement committees.

They’d also use class performance instead of Georgia milestone results to decide if students move on.

They plan to reduce testing times by an average of 4 ½ hours.

Instead, schools will offer and schedule more time on those test subjects in the same day.

This would apply during the pandemic of course, but it would also apply for future school years.

Along with all of this they plan to follow Georgia Department of Education recommendations which reduce the weight of Georgia milestone EOC exams to 0.01% of final grades and not 20 percent.

It’s a way the school system is trying to help out during a challenging school year.

Parents say these options are just what students after a year like this:

“When we focus more on the development for the child and tracking the child’s development and growth and we put the focus on that I feel like everyone wins at that point,” Flagge said.

Another key point to note is that students don’t have to come in to take the exam if they are virtual. They will receive a zero or incomplete exam grade but again that is only 0.01 percent of the final grade.

They’re hoping these changes will help bring some relief to current and future students.

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