Sun Prairie School Board members who questioned district administrative team decisions to end “high stakes summative” semester and final exams on Monday, June 21 were cautioned to remember board governance procedures and reminded it was not an area over which the board could take action.
The questioning of administrators began during the board’s discussions surrounding the handling of COVID-19. Board member Alwyn Foster questioned the decision to end final exams, and heard more than he was expecting in response from Stephanie Leonard-Witte, the Sun Prairie Area School District Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning & Equity.
“During COVID we said no finals, and now that we have built, I’ll say, better and more current assessment strategies, we just won’t be re-instituting finals as we move forward,” Leonard-Witte said.
“If you do an assessment of best practice — like what’s best for kids in learning — there is very little out there that would support final full summative assessments,” Leonard-Witte said.
“Best practice is that kids have assessment throughout the semester, throughout the quarter, that builds on itself. So they’re committing that knowledge more to, I would say, a working knowledge, as opposed to cramming for a test the night before,” Leonard-Witte added. “So I would say it’s a practice that’s been outdated for a bit and we’re taking the opportunity now to not reinstate something that isn’t supported as best practice in most of the research around assessment.”
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