BOCES receives $400K grant to reduce some student testing

Posted 20 August 2014 at 12:00 am

‘Teaching Is The Core’ to strengthen assessment practices

Press release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – The Orleans/Niagara BOCES has been approved for a $400,000 grant from the State Education Department for the “Teaching is the Core” initiative, said Dr. Clark Godshall, BOCES Superintendent.

The grant, funded through New York’s Federal Race to the Top grant, will support the 13 component school districts and the BOCES in their efforts to eliminate locally adopted tests that do not contribute to teaching and learning. In addition, the funds will help the districts identify and improve high-quality assessments already in use that can be included as a component of multiple measures of student learning and school and educator effectiveness.

“The recent outcry over too many school assessments belies the need for quality assessments that are an integral part of teaching and learning,” Godshall said. “While tests provide useful feedback to teachers, parents and students, they must be of high quality and informative.”

Some of the tests do not always support good instruction and sometimes even crowd out time for student learning, Godshall said.

“Testing should be the minimum necessary to inform effective decision-making in classrooms, schools and districts,” he said. “This grant will help reduce non-essential local testing in our region. And, more important, they’ll help teachers teach more and test less, which is exactly what our students need.”

The grant will also support professional development throughout the districts to maintain educational excellence. Albion, Medina and Lyndonville are part of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES.

The “Teaching is the Core” funding will allow the 13 districts and BOCES to:

Determine which assessments support the instructional goals of the district;

Determine an appropriate action plan that will eliminate unnecessary assessments and increase the use of diverse and quality assessment;

Support the use of diversified assessment strategies by encouraging a review of local assessments currently in use for teacher evaluations (APPR); and

Establish a professional development program that will aid teachers in identifying high-quality assessments and improving assessment practices.