Thumbs up: A smarter approach to school testing

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Are students devoting too much time to testing, especially that spring ritual of fill-in-the-bubble standardized tests? Ask any student, teacher, parent or administrator, and the answer almost certainly will be a resounding yes. One lucky group of California students — high school juniors — may be in line for a respite. A bill introduced in Sacramento would give schools the option of swapping out the state’s English and math tests for either the SAT or the ACT, the pre-entrance exams required by most colleges and universities. “It’s about local control, letting districts decide the best assessment for 11th-grade students,” Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, told the education news website Edsource.

Five other states — Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, and Michigan — already have adopted the SAT as an alternative assessment for 11th graders. Some school districts in California already give the SAT to all students in addition to the state-mandates Smarter Balance assessment. O’Donnell’s proposal offers the dual promise of reducing testing fatigue and giving students more reason to think about a higher education. Thumbs up.

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