PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The Pierre School Board discussed semester tests at last night’s monthly meeting and may end up talking about the topic in future meetings, as well. Todd Douglas, who has served seven years on the board, will be replaced next month by newly elected board member Randy Hartmann. At the beginning of yesterday’s meeting, Douglas asked that the subject of semester testing be added to the agenda. He said that the tests were approved early in his time on the board; in part to prepare students for college. Looking back, Douglas wondered how much of an impact weighting the tests at 20% of the final grade has had on some students and whether they should be continued. He said a bad test day could pull down good grades that had been achieved after weeks of hard work on assignments and homework. The other board members also expressed opinions on the matter; with Cari Leidholt saying teachers, parents and students should be asked whether the tests have been helpful. Dennis James, who is a former teacher, felt that Pierre graduates should be asked their opinion on the tests and he spoke against making a quick decision to eliminate the tests without some study. Randy Vance said he would be curious to know the level that other schools weigh semester tests. Deanne Booth said that knowing how many students grades were hurt by semester tests might help the board know how to proceed. Superintendent Kelly Glodt said he will ask administrators to provide some numbers at the next board meeting; regarding how many students’ grades were affected by the tests, how many schools in the state still take semester tests and how those schools factor test results into final grades. Glodt says it should be easy to get some answers on the issue and believes that evaluating semester test effectiveness is important.
Glodt says other districts also include semester tests for their students and believes that’s one of the reasons why the Pierre district considered adding the tests when it did.
Glodt says he expects that administrators will come to the board with some helpful semester test statistics.
The board will next meet on July 9.
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