Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2012

State testing postponed because of late NCAA championship game

April 4, 2012

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Lawrence school district students had the Jayhawks to thank for a slight reprieve in state assessment testing.

A number of elementary schools postponed state assessments that were scheduled for Tuesday for fear that students would come in groggy or miss school entirely after Monday’s NCAA championship game that pitted Kansas University against the University of Kentucky.

New York School principal Nancy DeGarmo said that with tipoff not until 8:30 p.m., she knew her students were going to be awake way past their bedtimes to watch the game. She also recognized that many of the school’s teachers would be in similar circumstances.

“There’s no point in putting ourselves in a stressful situation when we’re tired,” she said. “(We decided) let’s take today and do what we normally do and keep educating the kids. Let’s not throw in a state assessment test on top of that.”

Terry McEwen, who is the division director of assessment, research, grants and school improvements for the district, said this is the first time he recalls a conflict between state testing and a KU basketball championship game.

Schools can take the assessments between Feb. 15 and April 20. Many schools wait until after the spring break, which explains why so many schools were testing this week. Many save the last week of testing for makeups.

“It is pretty widespread testing this week and next,” McEwen said.

At New York, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders were scheduled to take either math or reading state assessment tests on Tuesday. Those tests have been moved to Friday.

“We’ve got the time. It’s not like the window closes on Friday,” DeGarmo said.

Hillcrest School principal Tammy Becker pushed back the state assessment math test for her fifth-graders.

“Mainly, I didn’t want to have a bunch of absences,” Becker said. “It was more of a precautionary thing.”

With the Final Four game on Saturday and the National Championship game on Monday, Becker said there wasn’t much time to make adjustments.

“Part of it is making sure we have the best testing environment for the kids. And we really work with families to make sure the kids are here on testing day,” she said.

Hillcrest also had a number of students taking the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment, which evaluates how well students can listen, speak, read and write English. Those were later in the day, so Becker said the school decided to maintain that testing schedule.

Quail Run also moved its assessment testing from Tuesday to Friday.

Not every school let Monday’s basketball game stand in the way of state assessments, McEwen said, including some middle schools.

“They’ve got a tighter schedule to fit all of this into because of the sheer number of students and tests to administer,” McEwen said.

Comments

Ragingbear 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, we see that public education considers sports more important than education, once again.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree that the Lawrence School Board and Central Administration has sometimes not had its priorities in order when it comes to athletics. But I think your comment is somewhat unfair. Apparently, this was not a policy decision issued from higher up, but instead were decisions made by individual school principals. The reality is that the game did not end until after 11:00 p.m., and had KU won bedtime for students would have be pushed back even later. Playing for the National Championship is a rare event. Even with KU's BB pedigree, and with Bill Self at the helm, I don't see it happening more than once every five or six years, and that would be a lot. In the future the dilemma can be avoided simply by not scheduling such events on the first Tueday of every April.

In the final analysis, the decision to postpone the exams had nothing to do with misdirected priories, and everything to do with properly considering the realities.

Yes, I agree with you. Our culture places way too much importance on sporting events. But I don't believe the individual decisions of the principals involved had anything to do with that.

Deb Engstrom 2 years, 11 months ago

Good call! Whether you agree or not you can't change people's behavior. The game was late anyway and if we had won, kids would have been up even later. Probably would have gone to school late or not at all. Easier to just postpone than to give make up tests.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

Always nice to receive an "atta boy" from a well respected educator. Thanks, Deb.

milehighhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Or "public education" is realistic and wants students to perform well.

But whatever works in your conspiracy theory, rager.

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