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The Charles County Board of Education voted unanimously last week to change its testing policy, eliminating the requirement of quarterly exams because they no longer align with what students are taught.

Quarterly exams were eliminated for many courses and replaced with a new pre- and post-testing model to better align to the Common Core state standards, which the school system transitioned to last school year.

The pre-/post-test model will be used for grades 1 to 8 for reading and math, elementary and middle school science, English III and the addition of a more rigorous writing portion for reading assessments.

County schools Superintendent Kimberly A. Hill said earlier this week that the quarterly exams were created to provide the school system with benchmark data for the Maryland School Assessments, which were in line with the voluntary state curriculum.

As the state moves to new Common Core standards, including new student learning objectives, the quarterly exams “are no longer applicable to what we are teaching.”

The pre-/post-testing model, Hill said, is more appropriately aligned to the curriculum and new state testing, which is scheduled to be implemented next year.

She said that the new model is “a better way of preparing students for the new assessment model based on Common Core curriculum.”

According to information from the school system, the testing changes reduce the number of tests students take, create tests that provide teachers and students with more meaningful data, and are based on a beginning-of-the-year pre-test followed by a period of instruction. Students will take post-tests to assess the impact of instruction and measure growth.

Teachers have administered more than 75,000 pre-tests.

Data from the tests will be used as teachers create student learning objectives and to measure student growth, and are part of new teacher evaluations.

Hill said she was excited about the new model, and that it will give the school system more meaningful data while reducing the number of times students are tested.

High school students still will take quarterly assessments for courses linked to High School Assessments, which include English I and II, biology, Algebra I, and local, state and national government.

Students took pre-tests between Aug. 26 and Sept. 12, and will take post-tests between Feb. 10 and Feb. 28. Schools will share pre- and post-test results with parents in home reports to be distributed in April.