In a move that seemed almost unthinkable before a change in leadership at the House of Representatives, Rhode Island lawmakers have suspended the use of standardized test scores as part of a high school diploma until at least 2017. Lawmakers have also approved legislation that limits the frequency of teacher evaluations for most teachers.
The General Assembly is expected to wrap up the session today, with two key education issues still under discussion.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has indicated he may bring a vote on a move to stop the use of standardized testing as a requirement for high school graduation. The measure was considered dead in the water under former House Speaker Gordon Fox, but Mattiello says he is concerned about the impact of the testing requirement on students with special needs. One compromise could involve suspending the testing rule for students with special needs.
A bill scheduled for debate Wednesday on Smith Hill would make student test scores no more than one third of a teacher’s annual evaluation. The bill’s sponsor is Senator Michael McCaffrey, a democrat from Warwick. The measure is slated for a hearing this afternoon in the Senate Education Committee.
State education Commissioner Deborah Gist is slated to discuss Rhode Island’s controversial teacher evaluations during a panel discussion this morning at the Fordham Institute in Washington, DC, a conservative public policy think-tank.