Thursday, February 16, 2012

CMS scraps controversial tests, teacher ratings

Originally posted in the Charlotte Observer at

By Ann Doss Helms

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is scrapping 52 controversial year-end exams, including one-on-one testing for children as young as kindergarten, and the "value-added" test-score ratings that had teachers up in arms last spring.

Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh emailed CMS employees about the reversal Tuesday night, saying that the CMS efforts duplicate state programs paid for with federal "Race to the Top" money. Some critics raised that concern last year, but Hattabaugh said Tuesday night that the duplication "wasn't clear yet" when CMS pushed ahead.

He told the board that abandoning the CMS tests and ratings in favor of state ones represents "a change in procedure but not direction."

CMS spent $2 million developing end-of-year tests for all subjects in all grades that are not covered by state exams. That included reading, math, social studies and science tests for grades K-2, which had to be administered one child at a time, and tests for an array of high-school electives.

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