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Here’s more about why everyone is so interested in how New Hampshire is changing student testing

There was a time when American education policy makers who cared about equity for low-income children, minorities and children with special needs felt that heavy use of standardized tests was the way to ensure that.  So in 2001, Senator Ted Kennedy was glad to join President George W. Bush in passing No Child Left Behind.  Education historian and advocate Diane Ravitch, an Assistant Secretary of Education at the time, said in 2005,

“We should thank President George W. Bush and Congress for passing the No Child Left Behind Act … All this attention and focus is paying off for younger students, who are reading and solving mathematics problems better than their parents’ generation.”

Now she says, as she did in an recent exchange on her blog, “Why aren’t [education policy makers] looking enviously at Finland, where there is no standardized testing until the end of high school,” going on to say that current discussions of alternatives are”a mass revolt among parents and teachers” against standardized testing, a movement she promotes in almost daily posts. (more…)

Will New Hampshire be Arne Duncan’s test case for the next generation of accountability in American education?

If you had any doubt about New Hampshire’s preeminent role in the national discussion about the future of American education, this piece in Education Week – the education policy publication of record – will put it in perspective for you.  The article gives an accurate picture of the status of the State’s efforts to gain federal approval for the PACE pilot program that strives to replace standardized tests with personalized student projects.  However it comes out, the waiver proposal is credible in Washington, D.C. and watched closely around the country because NHDOE and the districts have put years of hard thinking into coming up with better ways to help students learn. (more…)

NH’s new way to assess student learning could reduce standardized testing – Bill Duncan in the Concord Monitor

A national debate has broken out about standardized testing.  Everyone seems to agree that the over-testing driven by No Child Left Behind has been a mistake.  The question is, what now?  New Hampshire has for years been piloting a next generation approach to testing and has a lot to offer in this discussion. (more…)

The future of New Hampshire public education unfolding before our eyes

I attended a very interesting meeting at Sanborn Regional High School last week.  School district leadership from Sanborn (Kingston/Newton), Epping, Souhegan (Amherst and Mont Vernon) and Rochester were planning their joint efforts on a project called PACE – Performance Assessment for Competency Education.  (more…)