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Maryland Retreats From New Kindergarten Readiness Testing

By guest blogger Daarel Burnette II. Cross-posted from State EdWatch.

Maryland legislators voted Monday for the state to administer a controversial assessment of kindergartners only to a sampling of students, rather than the entire state's kindergarten population. 

My colleague Catherine Gewertz  wrote extensively about this subject in 2014.

The exam attempts to determine a child's social skills and word development by having teachers observe students' play time. It was seen as one of many efforts to size up children as they enter the K-12 system.  

But in a union-conducted survey of the state's kindergarten teachers last year, teachers said the exam took up way too much class time and was developmentally inappropriate. 

Monday's law, which has not yet been signed by the governor, prohibits any "statewide kindergarten assessment from being administered to an enrolled prekindergarten student unless it is being administered by a school psychologist or other school-based professional who intends to use the results in order to identify a disability." 

"This is exactly what happens when legislators listen to the perspective of experts in schools," MSEA President Betty Weller said in a statement. "Due to the [test] students lost out on instruction time during perhaps the most crucial learning period in their school experience—when they should be forming important learning habits and learning to play well with others. This bill will restore time for thousands of our youngest learners to play, learn, and develop a love for school."

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