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CMS Testing Set To Intensify As Part Of Teacher Evaluations

http://66.225.205.104/0331tests.mp3

CMS students will be taking a round of new tests next week. These aren't state or national tests, but rather the district's own attempt to monitor how kids are doing in a wide array of subjects. Next week's exams are a practice run. WFAE's Lisa Miller has more: This week CMS teachers got a video message from their boss. Superintendent Peter Gorman prepared them not only for next week's tests, but the whole premise of making kids take even more tests. "We don't want to get to a point in time where we spend all day every day doing assessments. I've heard some folks say that's all were going to do. I've looked at the info and data and that's not accurate. Yes, there will be more assessments done in the past. It will be. But we need to have assessments to know which students are learning and which are not and what they're learning and what they're not so you can have that info to shape your knowledge as a teacher." Part of the idea behind these tests is that eventually they'll help determine teacher pay. According to the district's plan, that's still three years down the line. Designing the tests is costing CMS $1.9 million. The district says that's left over from last year's budget. Ann Patterson has a 1st-grader at Dilworth Elementary. On Wednesday, she got a letter from CMS saying students will begin taking news tests designed to "calculate student growth and provide data needed to execute the district's strategic plan." "My initial response was I was concerned about kindergartners and first graders being tested so early," Patterson said. All CMS students from kindergarten through 12th grade are required to take the tests. The nearly $2 million cost of the tests also gives Patterson pause. "I'm hoping that the funding is not going to take away from the money to keep and hire new teachers from the actual classroom. Hundreds of parents have signed a petition through Mecklenburg Acts to protest the new tests. Pam Grundy helps lead the non-profit advocacy group. She has a fourth grader at Shamrock Gardens Elementary. "My understanding is he'll take two more tests, which will be twice the number he's taking now. It's not just taking the test, it really is the disruption to the school. When testing happens the whole school focuses on testing," Grundy said. Next week is a trial run. Students will take the final version in May and June. Scores this year won't factor into a student's grade, but they will in later years.