Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Schools to Dramatically Reduce Testing

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Schools to Dramatically Reduce Testing

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh Public Schools on Tuesday announced a plan to reduce the time spent in testing by as much as half in grades K-5.

"We know we want to minimize the assessments in grades K-5 so we are not overburdening students," said Allison McCarthy, executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, who outlined the plan at a school board committee meeting.

The meeting also included the release of school-by-school results on state tests and Advanced Placement exams.

The biggest testing reductions are planned in grades 3, 4 and 5, where the number of periods spent in testing are to decline from 85.5 periods to 41.5 periods. After school board member Sherry Hazuda was told one period equals 45 minutes, she said, "No wonder people are complaining when you see it like that."

"This has a great impact on the amount of time our children have to learn," said board member Carolyn Krug, who said less testing will reduce stress as well.

In kindergarten, the number of periods spent testing is to be cut from 13 to 11. In grade 2, the reduction is from 45 periods to 26.

Ms. McCarthy said there also will be a reduction in testing in grades 6-12.

As for the state tests given in spring 2014, the school-by- school results showed the percentages of students proficient or advanced on state math and reading tests given in grades 3-8, science in grades 4 and 8, and writing in grades 5 and 8. School- by-school results on the state end-of-course Keystone Exams given in secondary schools were released last month.

For the tests given in all or some of grades 3-8, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 had the highest percentages of students scoring proficient or better in all four subject areas: 86.1 percent in math, 88.2 percent in reading, 90.8 percent in writing and 81.7 percent in science.

CAPA students also fared well on the Keystone Exams, with the highest percentages proficient or better in algebra 1, 80.4 percent; and literature, 95.8 percent. It tied for first with Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy 6-12 on biology at 49.3 percent.

The lowest percentage on any test was 7. …

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