Letter: Time to move away from high-stakes tests

From jumping into the workforce to continuing their schooling, high school graduates have many options as they begin the next chapter of their lives. Throughout school, young Hoosiers must develop strong academic foundations and critical skills in order to achieve their goals. Their success upon graduation is a reflection of the education they received, and schools meeting this goal deserve to be recognized.

Currently, school success is tied to student performance on high-stakes tests, like ISTEP 10. Our outdated, one-size-fits-all graduation and diploma system limits student potential and does not fully prepare every kid for life after high school.

To move away from high-stakes testing, new graduation pathways allow students to personalize their learning through relevant courses that match their strengths and interests. Under our proposed accountability system, schools best meeting the needs of students would receive a higher grade. While opponents of this legislation remain focused on protecting an institution’s reputation, we remain centered on the true role of schools: educating kids.

In fact, several school superintendents testified in support of the bill, welcoming the challenge to help prepare students for life outside the classroom. In many cases, schools are already implementing innovative programs to drive student success. Their efforts should be recognized and be a factor when looking at school performance.

To unfairly assume only schools with certain demographics in a few select locations could be successful under this proposed legislation discounts the hard work of young Hoosiers and educators across the state. High-achieving, dedicated students, teachers and schools exist throughout Indiana in every county.

This proposal moves away from high-stakes testing, and more appropriately signals to schools that what matters most is preparing students for success. Opponents may continue their tired attack on rewarding success, but our schools deserve to be recognized for meeting their goals of preparing students for the next chapter of their lives.

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State Rep. Bob Behning

State Rep. Tony Cook

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