CO Teacher: 9th grade tests matter!

College & Career Readiness, Legislation | 03/24/2016

Courtney Hughes
Composition Teacher

Courtney is a 9th grade composition teacher at KIPP Montbello Collegiate High School in Denver, Colorado.

As a 9th grade composition teacher in Denver, I believe that state testing, specifically PARCC testing, sets students up for success. That’s why I’m opposed to legislation the Colorado legislature is considering that would remove an important measure of whether students are on track when they get to high school. Senate Bill 5 would prohibit statewide testing in 9th grade.

After years of work to implement Colorado’s new higher standards, educators and experts turned their focus to developing new, aligned tests. Last year was the first year that Colorado students took the PARCC test in English language arts and mathematics. PARCC is a good test. It assesses students’ skills—skills that they need to be prepared for the next grade and on the path to be ready for college.

The results of how my students do on this test are important to me. The data from these tests helps inform instruction and identify areas for growth for my students. As a teacher, it gives me an opportunity to target my instruction. Colorado policymakers reduced testing last year, removing 12th grade tests at the high school level. If this legislation passes, there would only be one check – up using PARCC for students in high school. A 9th grade test provides teachers and students with peace of mind of knowing how they are doing early on in their high school career so they can be prepared for college.

This is the second year of PARCC’s implementation and we are already talking about changing the testing system. To say it plainly, the test is good and policymakers should give it a chance. This test could drastically change the lives of many of my students, simply because it is preparing them to get to, and through college. This is why I strongly oppose Senate Bill 5 and I urge you to oppose this bill as well.

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