Colorado students may be assessed rather than tested
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – The Colorado Senate has approved legislation to replace comprehensive student tests with student assessments, removing writing exams that vexed teachers and students alike.
Under a measure approved Tuesday, students would be given three assessments: one to see what they know, one to see what they learned during the school year; and a third so teachers can tailor instruction.
Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster says the tests will no longer be called the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP.
“This bill is really the one that changes CSAP as we know it,” she told colleagues.
Teachers for years have expressed frustration with the Colorado Student Assessment Program, developed by educators and teachers a decade ago. They said the tests were a poor measure of student progress and they fought attempts to use the tests to measure their teaching ability. They also objected to school ratings based on student performance.
Lawmakers agreed the education system was broken, and complained teachers were teaching to the tests with little student improvement.
Under the bill, educators will review recommendations from a committee set up by Gov. Bill Ritter to study changes in public education from kindergarten through college and ensure courses are compatible.
Sen. Keith King, a Republican from Colorado Springs, said the proposed new assessments were an improvement, but he objected to eliminating the writing tests in upper grades.
“One of the best evaluations for students is how students write,” King said.
Hudak said including writing tests could allow opponents to kill the bill. She warned other states working with Colorado to develop new tests also would object.
Hudak said writing tests take too long to administer and too long to grade.
“It’s formula writing and essays. The modern world requires technical writing,” she said.