ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Too much testing. That was the big complaint about PARCC testing in the state. Tuesday, the New Mexico Public Education Department announced a new testing program for school kids, one the PED says will cut down testing time and be more culturally significant.
“Kids have not just been tested too much, but the tests have carried far too much weight,” said Ellen Bernstein, President of the Albuquerque Teacher’s Federation.
She said in past years, student testing has caused some major issues in schools, putting pressure on students and teachers.
“Whether or not you can graduate, the teacher’s evaluation, the school grade… these tests took on a life of their own, and they were creating great stress in schools,” said Bernstein.
She said that’s why Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham decided to nix the old testing, called PARCC. A task force came up with recommendations for the new tests.
“Over 800 voices were heard during some outreach across the state,” said Gwen Perea Warniment.
Parea Warniment is the Deputy Secretary with PED and says the new testing will be given to students in grades 3-8. She said it will take up to six hours, which is three hours less than the PARCC tests.
It will also be more culturally relevant, with more questions related to what kids in New Mexico know and have grown up with.
“An assessment system that includes culturally relevant items available and in another language are incredibly important pieces,” said Perea Warniment.
For older students in grade 10, they will take the PSAT, and those in 11th grade will take the SAT.
“When we decoupled teacher evaluation from test scores, and when we got rid of the school grading system, those two things alone took such a burden of stress off students and teachers,” said Bernstein.
Over time, the PED says the test will include custom-developed writing prompts created by New Mexico educators. The testing will be taken in the spring.
Schools will also be able to request detailed data on where students are succeeding and where they need more instruction.