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Friday, August 23, 2013

Early Childhood PMF Proposal: There Are No New Tests

I’ve been reading with interest the comment and feedback PCSB has received on the proposed Early Childhood Performance Management Framework (EC PMF). Several themes have emerged in the comments and I wanted to take a moment to explain our role.

As the authorizer for DC’s public charter schools, we perform ongoing oversight over these independent public schools to make sure that they are serving students. Our oversight duty is to ensure that all students have access to high-quality charter school options. 

This of course includes our youngest learners. Data from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education shows that more than half of all 3rd grade students are unable to read and do math at a basic level. If a student falls behind by third grade, its is extremely difficult for them to catch up.

That’s why it’s important for young learners to leave preschool programs and enter kindergarten with a strong foundation for doing well in elementary school and beyond. To do that, there has to be some measure of how our youngest learners are doing in identifying their colors (literacy), counting (math), and managing their own emotions and getting along with others (social-emotional). 

To be clear, the proposed Early Childhood PMF builds off measurements schools already use, which are detailed in a school’s accountability plan. [See a plan.] There are no new tests. I repeat, these measurements are not "standardized test" in the sense of fill in the bubble tests.  We agree that learning should be more than how well a student performs on a test.

We’ve heard from so many of you, and we’re grateful for the comments.  Please continue to weigh in until the public comment period ends on August 28.  The Board is scheduled to vote in September. Irrespective of how the board votes, we’ll continue to modify and improve on our approach to making sure that young learners are best served by high-quality early childhood programs at our public charter schools.

Posted by: Scott Pearson at 10:20 a.m.
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