High Stakes Testing Emphasis Disappointing


Beginning today and throughout the next two weeks, third grade students will nervously apply pencil to paper trying to score proficient or above on their first high stakes test. Teachers have been preparing students all year long for this decisive test hoping to refute projections of 5,000 students not advancing to the fourth grade (based on previous years’ test results).  

“As an educator, the emphasis our state has placed on a single test, on a single day to determine whether or not our eight and nine year olds are prepared for the next grade level is disappointing. A cookie-cutter approach does not work with children, they do not all learn the same way or at the same time,” said Linda Hampton, OEA President.

Several parents, educators and child advocates have continuously expressed concerns regarding the validity of the narrow testing criteria, the negative implications results could create, and the harmful anxiety high stakes testing is having on these young students.

Many legislators heeded concerns and are currently considering bills that would lessen the finality of the current law. House Bill 2625 would allow students to advance to the fourth grade if they score proficient or above on any of the other state approved reading tests taken throughout the school year. Also being considered is Senate Bill 1971 that would provide local control in the decision process of advancement and retention.

“I want to thank all of our educators for their continuous dedication and encouragement to students all year long. Good luck to the amazing young students for working so hard and I hope they know, they are much more than a test score,” Hampton said.

The third grade reading test is an initiative of current State Superintendent Janet Costello Barresi and is modeled after Florida’s reading laws.


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