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Sen. Dahle Leads Statewide Working Group on Assessments

Sen. Kevin Dahle (D-Northfield) represents District 20.

As the point person for Student Assessment and Testing on the Education Committee, I have begun the process of reviewing the State’s standardized testing environment. Minnesota continues to have one of the best track records in the country for student learning and achievement, but ballooning government imposition of standardized testing has begun to take its toll. Minnesota students take several redundant tests every year, wasting time, money, and often disrupting their learning environment.     

For years, teachers and students have grown more and more concerned about the need to ―teach to the test,‖ rather than to student needs. Math testing in particular has become a burden to students: a single score on a single test on a single day threatens to keep an estimated 43% of students from graduating on time in 2015. With Minnesota’s top-of-the-nation ACT scores, this is a problem with our tests, not our students.

Along with Rep. Brynaert in the House, I am working on legislation to eliminate the GRAD standardized test, doing away with high-stakes, onechance testing. Along with that, I will work to establish a framework to replace the GRAD with a suite of tests which is forward-looking, rather than reactive.     This suite, aligned with our rigorous state standards, would be designed to promote college and career readiness, in accordance with a recent report on assessment and accountability. 

Allowing for increased communication between schools, students and parents, the new testing will create a more effective learning environment. This is a big task that will take many years to fully complete, but we are on the road to a more responsible system of education that will keep Minnesota competitive in the US economy. That’s a goal we can all agree to strive toward

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