Tulsa School Superintendent Cutting Back On Tests

Monday, August 3rd 2015, 12:49 pm
By: Emory Bryan

After growing complaints about over testing in the classroom, Tulsa Public Schools announced students will spend half the time taking tests this school year than they did last year.

The new Tulsa Public Schools superintendent announced Monday that she's giving parents and teachers more flexibility in the classroom.

At Monday night's Board of Education Meeting, TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said all pre and post unit assessments are now optional, third graders will not take the MAP English Language Arts test any longer, and secondary students will only take the Scholastic Reading Inventory, which is used to determine their reading level, three times a year instead of four.

It's one of the first big changes from Gist, who has heard the complaints since she started; and the change is welcome news for a lot of teachers and students.

A TPS committee has determined some of the tests aren’t needed and cutting them out saves money and time.

The cuts that are coming will impact time students spend on test prep and actual testing, but it won't eliminate most of the tests given by Tulsa Public Schools.

The change is something 11th grader Joshua Anderson is glad to hear.

“Actually that's really cool cause it seems like it's been a whole lot lately,” he said.

After years of parents and teachers complaining about the time spent on testing, Gist announced the policy change eliminating some of the benchmark tests given by the district.

Some parents, however, worry that cutting testing is easing back standards.

“As long as it's educating them more and helping them gain knowledge, that's what's best,” said parent Alexious Thompson.

Recently, the TPS superintendent met with 150 of Tulsa's teachers to get complaints and suggestions for improvement.

7/27/2015 Related Story: TPS Teachers Give Direct Feedback To Superintendent

One problem many of them mentioned was the growing trend towards increasing testing.

Several complained the data being generated isn't worth the time taken away from teaching, and parents have long complained that tests don't always measure smarts.

“Some kids can't take a test, some take a test great and they're going to get better scores even though the one who can't take tests well might be smarter,” parent Jean Baker said.

Now that the superintendent has informed the board of the plans, there's time to work out any specifics with plenty of time before testing begins later in the school year.