Denise Juneau Reduces the Testing Burden on Kids


Denise Juneau is continuing her stellar work as the Superintendent of Public Instruction, announcing today that 11th grade students will no longer be required to take the Smarter Balanced assessments. Instead, students will continue to take the ACT exam

Juneau said, in a press release:

Montana is one of 13 states that provides the ACT to all juniors for free. It doesn’t make sense to ask juniors to take the ACT and the Smarter Balanced assessment. The change will cut testing time for public high school students by two-thirds, and allow them to focus on preparing for college and career.

It’s absolutely the right move, and not just because I have been calling for it for years. The ACT assessment is better for our students, a more accurate measurement of college readiness, and has the undeniable benefit of having student buy-in. Evaluating our schools on the basis of tests that both educators and students know has little impact on their academic futures was always going to fail, but focusing on the ACT will give students the chance to take a test that measures their abilities on a meaningful test.

The tests previously required were plagued with vendor problems, took far too long to complete, and have been shown to have serious problems in other states.

This 11th grade teacher couldn’t be happier, and Montana students have all been given an early Christmas gift with the decision to reduce the testing that takes place in schools.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Greg Strandberg

Testing 1, 2, 3….

Greg Strandberg

I’d just like to point out how terrible our public schools are doing at educating our kids. According to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress report 34% of our 8th grade students are proficient at reading and 33% are proficient at math.

18% are proficient in US history. 23% know civics.

How did this country get so bad at educating it’s youth? This is a serious problem.

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