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State Education Leaders Visit Eugene To Discuss Standardized Testing

Tuesday evening state education leaders visited Eugene to hear thoughts from parents and teachers on the new Smarter Balanced standardized tests.

Tensions were high at North Eugene High School as many teachers from around the region spoke out against using the Common Core state testing standards in their classrooms.

The Smarter Balanced tests are conducted on computers. This is one concern of Looking Glass Riverfront School teacher Laura Farrelly.

"Some students grow up really poor and don't have access to computers and don't have key boarding skills! You have to be literate with keyboarding. And many of our students don't have that."

Farrelly says students should be assessed on their ability to integrate subject matter, not on their test results. She's also concerned about schools being penalized when too many students opt out of the tests.

Derek Brown is the director of assessment at the Oregon Department of Education. He agrees that equity in public schools extends beyond testing, but argues there is value in giving everyone the same exam. By comparing schools on a state and district level, educators can learn different teaching strategies from successful schools.

Brown says the education leaders are planning to schedule about six more meetings around the state to speak with parents and teachers.

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