Testimony in support of the common care and improved assessment practices
I am writing this email to share my testimony in support of the use of the common core standards and improved assessment practices in our public schools.
As Chair of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association’s Southwest Region’s Curriculum Administrators, I have frequent contact with my colleagues throughout the Southwest region and the state. During the course of our interactions, it has become clear to me that my colleagues support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a means of improving the rigor and coordination of K-12 curriculum for New Hampshire’s children. The CCSS provide a solid foundation on which NH school districts are building a clear, coherent, and coordinated curriculum as guided and approved by local school boards. School districts are able to leverage the increased rigor in the standards, including the increased emphasis on application, problem-solving strategies, nonfiction text, text complexity and interdisciplinary connections, to develop an instructional program that prepares them for the complex world in which they will live as adults.
New Hampshire schools have been using the CCSS to develop local curriculum for approximately seven years. As part of the ongoing development of more rigorous curriculum, schools throughout New Hampshire are engaged in developing more responsive assessments that will assist in measuring individual student progress towards higher standards. In addition to locally developed assessments, we believe the adaptive nature of new state assessments like “Smarter Balanced” will provide useful measures that will allow teachers, parents, students and leaders to continually improve learning. While some feel that the new assessments are too difficult for students, many Curriculum Administrators and teachers believe that the increased rigor is a positive development that will support our students’ readiness to compete in a global economy.
I have also heard that some new Hampshire residents have concerns about the technological readiness of schools to implement online assessments. Schools are already preparing for implementation of the online assessments by improving their technology infrastructure and policies. As a testament to their readiness, many schools already use an online assessment known as Measures of Academic Progress, published by NWEA.
In summary, on behalf of the Curriculum Administrators in the Southwest region of the state, I strongly encourage that the Education Committee find the bills that seek to delay, outlaw or weaken the continued development of common core based instruction and improved rigorous assessment Inexpedient to Legislate. These include: HB 1239, 1238, 1432, 1508 (and others with similar intent).
I would be pleased to reply to any questions.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Elaine M. Arbour
SAU #6 Assistant Superintendent of Schools
165 Broad Street
Claremont, NH 03743