Replacement for CSAP testing topic of Tuesday meeting in Grand Junction

Colorado Board of Education members adopted new curriculum standards in December. Their next mission is to adopt a new assessment to fit those standards.

The Colorado Department of Education will sponsor a Town Hall meeting on the topic from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Building B, room 113, at Western Colorado Community College.

Attendees will be invited to share their thoughts about what a replacement for the Colorado Student Assessment Plan test should include and how it should be administered.

Grand Junction is the first stop in a statewide tour of meetings about the subject. Meetings about standardized testing in secondary grade levels and getting kids ready for the work force or higher education will also take place in Gunnison, Alamosa, Pueblo and Greeley through March.

The Colorado Department of Education will sponsor meetings addressing standardized testing in elementary school and school readiness this February and March in Cortez, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs.

State Board of Education member Marcia Neal, a former Grand Junction High School history teacher, said she sees the benefit of standardized testing, but she believes it’s time to find a test that will more seamlessly connect to classroom curriculum than CSAP tests.

“Hopefully the new test will have more impact and meaning for students, because it’s currently so separate from what they do that they see no connection to it,” Neal said.

“We want it to have more relevance to students.”

Neal said she hopes for a big turnout Tuesday, and she already has received feedback on what people want in a new test.

“The things I’m hearing are that, number one, we’d like to be able to do (the new test) by computer,” Neal said, so that test results could return to school districts more quickly.

Colorado schools will continue to administer CSAP tests until a new test is written.

The new test is scheduled to roll out in 2012, but budget constraints could push the timeline back to 2013 or 2014, Neal said.

The timeline should be preserved, though, if the state receives Race to the Top funding, she said.

The Race to the Top program offers federal dollars to states that rush to implement school reforms.


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