No Tests Left Behind: Neither Snow Nor Blunt Talk from MoCo School Chief Can Cancel MSAs

No-Tests-Left-Behind-Neither-Snow-Nor-Blunt-Talk-from-MoCo-School-Chief-Can-Cancel-MSAs

The Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools says kids shouldn’t be taking it. Many parents say it’s a waste of time, especially given all the recent snow days.  But Dr. Joshua Starr’s outspoken opinion along with widespread complaints about its relevancy won’t make a difference –  the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) is happening, like it or not.

In this exclusive interview with On The Marc Media, Superintendent Starr has blunt talk about the MSA.  He says that because it isn’t aligned with recently adopted Common Core Standards, it “doesn’t give us meaningful information.”  Essentially, valuable instructional time is being lost to testing that is not aligned to current standards.

Starr doubles down in this letter sent to the parents and caregivers of these thousands of students countywide, saying “I do not believe it is in the interest of or students or schools for the state of Maryland to administer the MSA this year, and many parents, educators and local and state leaders feel the same way.”

But rules are rules. Since federal law requires that Maryland administer the MSA, Montgomery County students will take it this year. Fortunately for critics, 2014 is the last year for the controversial tests.

This doesn’t mean that students will get off scot-free in the future.  Standardized testing isn’t going away completely.  The MSA will be replaced with the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments next year.  The PARCC is being field tested in schools around the county in preparation for the switch.  So sharpen those pencils and eat a good breakfast. Like it or not, it’s testing season in Montgomery County.



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