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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Common Core tests inspire debate

  • New education standards bring new tests, but just what those tests will be and even who will develop them is still an open question in Kansas.
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  • New education standards bring new tests, but just what those tests will be and even who will develop them is still an open question in Kansas.
    The Kansas Board of Education is debating whether to use tests currently under development by a federally-funded consortium of 21 states, including Kansas. Other options include developing tests independently or using a mix of consortium-developed and state-developed tests.
    Concerns include local opposition to the Common Core standards and questions about whether the state will be allowed to use consortium-developed materials in developing its own tests.
    Bill Seidl, superintendent of Canton-Galva School District, said that uncertainty makes it difficult to predict how the new tests will affect local schools.
    “There's a lot of questions about how to handle this in Kansas schools,” Seidl said.
    Seidl said new standards are always difficult to implement because they bring changes for educators.
    “It's a challenge from an education standpoint. You want to keep doing what you're doing,” Seidl said.
    Seidl said there's always uncertainty when education models change, but he believes the intention is to improve education and that the future of Kansas students is in good hands.
    “We have some good people on the job,” Seidl said.
    Randy Watson, superintendent of McPherson School District, said McPherson schools will continue to use the ACT as they have for the past three years.
    In the past, the University of Kansas has developed tests for Kansas. The Kansas Board of Education could vote on the issue in December.
    The state currently spends $4.6 million annually on testing. Brad Neuenswander, deputy commissioner for education, said Kansas will need to spend an additional $1.86 million to administer the new tests.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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