BY: Citizens Count
The federal government has approved a pilot program for New Hampshire schools to replaced Smarter Balanced standardized tests with assessments written by local teachers.
Federal law requires school districts to administer standardized tests at regular intervals. The results of those tests are used to evaluate school performance and target federal funding.
However, many teachers argue that the standardized tests take away from classroom time without helping students learn. Common Core opponents also dislike the Smarter Balanced assessments because the tests are based on Common Core standards.
New Hampshire's pilot program replaces four out of seven Smarter Balanced tests with tasks and projects that are integrated with classwork. The projects are created and graded by local teachers.
The pilot program, called Performance Assessments of Competency Education (PACE), will launch in Rochester, Epping, Sanborn and Souhegan. Those four school districts have been working on PACE for years.
Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said New Hampshire will serve as a model for the nation if the project succeeds.
Paul Leather, New Hampshire’s Deputy Commissioner of Education, cautioned that not all school districts may be able to implement PACE.
"I think that there are districts that have not put the kind of effort and preparation into both leadership and building the strength of their educators to be able to do this," said Leather.