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Education Department tries to ease testing worries

Education Sec. Duncan: States can delay the use of high-stakes exams in their teacher evaluation systems

education-testingEducation Secretary Arne Duncan on Aug. 21 said that states can apply for extra time before they use student test scores to judge teachers’ performance.

Duncan’s decision is an acknowledgement of the concerns by teachers’ unions and others that it’s too early to make teacher personnel decisions based on how well students do on new assessments developed under the Common Core standards that will be used in much of the country this school year.

The move affects the more than 40 states and the District of Columbia that have a waiver around stringent parts of the No Left Behind education law. One condition the Obama administration put on obtaining a waiver was the development of a meaningful teacher evaluation system.

“The bottom line is that educators deserve strong support as our schools make vital, and urgently needed, changes,” Duncan said.

(Next page: More information about Duncan’s announcement—and its implications for schools)

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