In a 5-2 vote Wednesday night, the Newtown Board of Education decided to request a waiver for students to skip the CMT standardized testing this spring. Board members reasoned that students throughout the district were affected by the traumatic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and waiving the CMTs would help reduce anxiety and stress, keep structure in the school day, and provide additional time for instruction to make up for that which was lost as a result of the Newtown tragedy.
The CMTs are administered statewide to students in grades 3-8. In order to waive the federal testing requirement Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor must submit a request to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The board was divided over this decision, especially because Gov. Malloy’s teacher reforms, which base tenure on evaluations tied 45 percent to student performance, will take effect next school year. Superintendent Janet Robinson voiced concerns about the lack of baseline data if tests are not administered. It’s possible the first two weeks of school in the fall could be devoted to standardized testing in order to give them data to measure student outcomes, she said.
Watch the full meeting online here.