Sunday , 20 August 2017
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How much is too much?

Last week President Obama called on states to cap the amount of time prepping for and administering testing in classrooms to no more than 2% of the year. Although it is hurricane season, the strong winds you likely felt last week were the collective “Amen” and “Yes” being exalted by educators, students, and parents across our state.  

Recent studies have shown that there is no correlation between increased testing time and improved academic performance.  Yet, over the past few years, the amount of time and resources that have been spent on prepping for, administering, and taking state mandated assessments has grown tremendously. Every grade level K-12 now has state mandated tests which carry high stakes. I think we all would agree that the goal of education is not to prepare for standardized tests. The goal is to prepare students for life and their futures.

According to a recent study, the average student today is subjected to 112 standardized tests between preschool and high school graduation. These tests are time consuming and take away from valuable class time that could be spent on deeper instruction.

Not everyone is in favor of reducing the amount of testing taking place in our state. For example, Pearson Corporation, a national publisher of many of the tests administered in North Carolina and other states, made $9 billion in profits last year from testing and textbook sales to states. They have lobbied extensively for pro-testing policies.leave-364178_640

In Newton-Conover, we take pride in our students and our community. Our goals are to prepare every student for the life path that they choose to follow. We welcome accountability in the classroom, on athletic fields, and in extracurricular endeavors. Our hope is that we can focus more of our time and attention on individual student needs instead of standardized assessment preparation.  Either way, the topic is worthy of debate and discussion. In the meantime, we will continue to do all that we can to prepare our leaders of tomorrow.  

What we do know is that our partnership with parents and the relationships we make with students are both paramount to our success.  In Newton-Conover, we work hard to forge relationships with our students and our families, and we welcome the collaboration that ensures students have what they need to succeed.  No matter what decisions are made by the state or federal government regarding testing, we will always take pride in our commitment to working with parents and students to ensure our students have the structures and support they need to be college and career ready.

About David Stegall

Dr. David Stegall is the Superintendent for Newton-Conover City Schools. He previously served Newton-Conover as the Associate Superintendent, and previous to that as the Director of Elementary Curriculum, ESL (English as a second language) and AIG (academically and intellectually gifted). In February, 2012 he was named the Outstanding Young Educator for North Carolina by NCASCD and was a National Finalist for the ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award. In 2016 Dr. Stegall was named a National Superintendent to Watch by NSPRA. Dr. Stegall joined the Newton-Conover City School system from Iredell-Statesville Schools in July 2007. He has presented at the state, national and international levels on professional learning communities and teacher empowerment. Dr. Stegall received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; a master's degree in education from Gardner-Webb University; an education specialist degree in education administration from Appalachian State University; and a doctorate degree in educational leadership from ASU.

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