Illinois takes first step in reigning in standardized tests

Illinois isn’t getting rid of the bevy of tests students take every year, but the state will finally track just how many tests students are taking.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law Friday that will have school districts across the state send a report of every statewide or national standardized test students take.

The governor said Illinois needs to know just how many tests school children take each year.

“We have a vast number of standardized test being given to our children throughout the state of Illinois,” Rauner said. “There is a concern about too much testing in the state of Illinois.”

Rauner said he wants local schools to continue to have local control over their test curriculum, but he does want to know how many tests are scheduled.

Mike Chamness, spokesman for the Illinois Association of School Administrators, said the Illinois’ School Management Alliance actually wanted the governor to veto the law.

Chamness said the Alliance fully supports transparency, but is dedicated to fighting all unfunded mandates for local schools.

“We’ve had over the past two years 116 unfunded mandates put on schools,” Chamness said. “This is just another.”

The governor said it’s time for Illinois to look past standardized tests as the best or only way to measure whether students are learning what they need to know.

Rauner said there’s a misconception about testing.

“If students score at a high level on some test, that’s a good school,” the governor said. “If they score lower, that’s a bad school. That’s not true.”

Chamness said the Alliance agrees that standardized testing is not the be all and end all for measuring success.

“Tests have their place in terms of providing useful data and benchmarks for educators,” Chamness said. “But in terms of saying this is a good or a bad school, we think that’s a misuse of those tests.”

Rauner said Illinois will always need a way to measure how students are learning and how well teachers are teaching. He said he hopes to push for those reforms soon.

–Illinois News Network

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