Nearly 9,000 educators from across the U.S. are gathered in Denver this week for the National Education Association’s 152nd Annual Meeting. Virginia alone has about 200 representatives attending.
Meg Gruber is the president of the Virginia Education Association, and says one of the most critical topics to be discussed at this year’s annual meeting and representative assembly, is the much criticized standardized testing.
“Obviously a key topic across the nation is standardized testing and the fact that we are over-testing our students and that’s taking focus and time away from teaching them important skills like critical thinking and problem solving. And then the misuse of the standardized testing to evaluate schools to evaluate teachers based on that one time snapshot of what a student is able to produce on a multiple choice test at that given moment."
Gruber emphasizes that Virginia is well on its way in making testing changes within its public school system.
“But what I’m even more excited about is the Standards of Testing Innovation Committee. That committee is going to be charged for making recommendation to the Board of Education and General Assembly, what I view as how can we get back into balance. Obviously, we need to have assessments that measure basic knowledge but we’ve also have to get away from those tests being the end all be all of measuring a student’s and teacher’s success.
Gruber says despite the SOL controversy, there is good news for state schools. Virginia ranks in the Top 5 in the nation when it comes to overall student achievement, and scores are up in national reading and math assessment testing. She says this is a major accomplishment considering how underfunded the school system is in the state.