Wisconsin schools ready for Common Core testing as students in o - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin schools ready for Common Core testing as students in other states opt out

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released results from the final Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) yesterday and now school districts are readying to offer a new standardized test next year.

But how many parents will let their children take it?

Opponents of the Common Core State Standards tried to kill them through legislation this past year.  Now that they've failed in that effort, its likely they'll join the national "opt-out" movement - making sure their kids and others don't take the standardized tests associated with Common Core.

In Brooklyn, New York last week parents, students and even teachers and principals protested the second year of Common Core standardized testing.  70 percent of New York students failed to meet expectations on the exams in year one.

"I think we kind of feel like we've been had," said Liz Phillips, Principal of PS 321. "These tests just don't assess anything and yet they have incredibly high stakes attached to them."

But here in Madison, school district administrators are on board with the Common Core tests, called Smarter Balance Assessments.  They are slighly different than the exams being given in New York.

"Its much more flexible, there's not a time limit, there's a variety of ways that kids can respond," said Lisa Kvistad, Asst. Superintendent for Teaching and Learning with the Madison Metropolitan School District.  "There will be some multiple choice, there will be some expanded response, there'll be some longer written passages, there'll be some performance-based items."

"There's nothing I've seen that makes them better than any other standardized test," remarked Tim Slekar, a Common Core opponent who serves as the Dean of Education at Edgewood College.

Slekar said he could see parents in Wisconsin having the same reaction to the test as their counterparts in New York.   

"They're calling it right now 'testing resistance,'" said Slekar.

In New York, an estimated 33,000 students opted out of taking the tests this year.  DPI officials say there is nothing preventing Wisconsin students from doing the same thing.

"I've heard tales of opting out and I think that part of that happens when people are unclear, when people are unclear about the purpose, about the timing, about the information," said Kvistad.

Kvistad said MMSD is doing everything it can to make sure parents are clear about what the Smarter Balance Assessment will involve.  But Tim Slekar said once parents know more, the more reluctant they will be.

MMSD will give the first Smarter Balance Assessments in the spring of 2015.

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