Senator Saland Announces Bill To Study New Method Of Educational Testing

Stephen M. Saland

June 24, 2008

Value added student assessments are an emerging educational practice which has shown success in measuring individual student performance from year to year. Unlike the traditional standardized tests currently in use, value added assessments measure a student's personal progress against past performance. Testing can reveal strengths and weaknesses according to various instructional practices. They can alert educators to individual student needs, alert administrators to the effectiveness of current practices, measure improvement over time, inform professional development and thus increase the educational accountability the public requires.

The experience of states already using value added testing and the experience of the 37 school districts currently engaged in a pilot program in New York State shows that a system of value added testing has the potential to dramatically improve public education in the state.

“While standardized tests have long been used to evaluate student performance overall, they do not always provide a comprehensive indication of an individual student’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Senator Saland. “Value added assessment has the potential to improve student performance and save taxpayers money by focusing on what works for individual students rather than using a broad brush and one size fits all approach. Creating this commission will allow the State to thoroughly examine the potential of this approach.”

The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.