State's Emphasis on Student Testing To Change

Merging Federal, SC education plans

Columbia, SC (WLTX)- State education leaders met Wednesday, planning out the state's singular education accountability system to take effect in the 2017-2018 school year. 

Previously, South Carolina schools and districts were being ranked on both a federal and state systems.

Now, under President Barack Obama's "Every Student Succeeds Act," they are tasked with coming up with a new plan to revamp education from Kindergarten in 12th grade.

 

Deputy Superintendent of Innovation and Effectiveness Sheila Quinn said those goals could be met with measures like reading and math tests, but can also bring evaluations of success without tests. 

"Look at more of the whole picture of what the student is experiencing at elementary, middle and high," Quinn explained. "I don't think we've hit that fully yet."

For example, the group debated the pros and cons to making attendance records and class grades as measurements for middle school readiness. 

Melanie Barton with the Education Oversight Committee said the big debate will likely surround which metrics of readiness are chosen.

"The tension's gong to be over what do you report, and what do you count," Barton said.

As the state brings businesses and innovative employers to South Carolina, Barton's concern of the readiness of students entering the workforce are front and center. 

"We've really got to get the pressure on...a good pressure," Barton said. "Here are the jobs, you can do it."

With educational equity problems with rural districts named in the Abbeville lawsuit, Quinn and Barton said this new accountability system could address some of those concerns. 

Opportunities like AP courses, virtual schools, and technology classes could become a part of the readiness measures, incentivizing schools to provide such options.

The state has to have their plans ironed out by November. Changes can then be made with lawmakers once the legislative session starts.

They hope to have the official plan to the feds by March. 


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