Is standardized testing addressing our students’ needs?

To the Editor:
The Legislative Audit Commission, of which I am a member, helps select audits and evaluations of state government programs. Last year, I requested an audit of standardized testing in Minnesota schools. Community members and parents around the state are concerned schools are having to teach to a test, and not to individual student needs. This particular audit report had interesting results, is having multiple hearings and is leading to legislative changes at the Capitol.
One key component of the audit found that generally, more teachers and local administrators say locally adopted standardized tests are more useful for students and schools than the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). According to the audit, only 7 percent of teachers and 16 percent of principals find the MCAs ‘very useful’ in measuring individual students’ progress over time. These statistics come from a statewide survey that was taken by teachers and principals in 2016.
This leads to many questions: are schools merely complying with carrying out these tests as an administrative duty? And if so, how can we better address individual students’ needs in the classroom?
I will continue to work with my House and Senate colleagues for concrete and creative solutions to ensure we are putting our students first.
If you have an audit suggestion please contact me at 651-296-5510 or by email at [email protected] with your ideas. Visit http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us to learn more about the commission.
I appreciate your input.
Connie Bernardy
Fridley
State Representative Connie Bernardy represents District 41A, which includes Fridley and Columbia Heights.