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Smarter And Less Testing Needed, Says NC Superintendent

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Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE
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NC Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson calls for less testing in visit to Charlotte

In a visit to Charlotte Friday, the state’s new School Superintendent Mark Johnson says he looks forward to revamping student testing, which is one of his top priorities. He says a big flaw in testing is that results are not available in a timely manner where teachers can use them to improve student instruction. Johnson says the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind and gives states more leeway in education policy, offers the state the opportunity to implement better testing requirements.

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Credit Gwendolyn Glenn
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NC Superintendent Mark Johnson talks to reporters at West Charlotte High School. He taught earth science at the school for two years.

I’d like to see us teach more and test less,” Johnson said. “What we gained from testing is a great amount of data to track our students and their success but we have all acknowledged that we are testing too much. So we will take the opportunity ahead of us and come up with a plan that works best for North Carolina.”

Johnson says testing shouldn’t just be done at the end of the school year to see how teachers are performing. He says high-stakes testing is stressful for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. He says he will not push for legislation that gets rid of the A-F grading of schools.

Johnson’s visit to Charlotte included an early morning ride on a school bus as part of bus drivers’ appreciation day. He met with city leaders at the Chamber of Commerce and visited West Charlotte High, where he taught earth science for two years through Teach for America.