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Centre County Public Issues Forum to Examine Standardized Testing in Schools

Centre Daily Times (PA) (03/22/14) Rosenblum, Chris

Local educators and education professors have organized a Centre County Public Issues Forum aimed at driving discussion about the role of standardized tests in Pennsylvania, following changes to the state's law. The forum will be held on April 24 at the Schlow Centre Region Library and will be open to the public. Data from the yearly Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) test will now impact the Pennsylvania School Performance Profiles and a new teacher and principal evaluation method that comprises five criteria, including the standardized assessment scores. The new system is an improvement over the previous one that focused on "adequate yearly progress," said acting state Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq, who called the new system "a fairer way to measure our success." Instead of the yearly progress, the tests will "measure trajectory toward graduation by having certain standards at each grade level," she added. Dumaresq also said the PSSA tests can be used to help schools evaluate the effectiveness of their curriculum. While transitioning to an online test could speed scoring, not all schools are prepared for such a change, she said, as students need more time to learn the material.
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