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Head Of D.C. Public Schools Wants To Know Whether All The Testing Is Worth It

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The head of D.C.'s traditional public school system, Chancellor Kaya Henderson, says she wants to look into whether the standardized tests students take are worth their time.

Henderson began an email to DCPS parents last week by saying, "I sometimes, like many of you, worry that my kids spend too much time on testing." She says students in DCPS take several assessments throughout the year including the D.C. CAS, math and literacy tests, and diagnostic exams. Henderson says that a new task force will look into how to balance accountability without taking away students' love of learning.

This follows a new law championed by Council member David Catania (I-At Large). Under that law, both charter and traditional public schools have to have policies on testing and make those policies public.

Catania says parents frequently ask him about testing, and that testing and test prep take up huge amounts of time. One charter school, for example, spends 60 days — a third of the academic year — doing test preparation.

Over the next several months, a DCPS task force will develop a set of recommendations about which tests to keep and which ones to scrap.

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