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DoD Schools to Examine Students' Standardized Tests

By Staff Sgt. Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2000 – DoD schools officials are looking closely at the standardized tests military children take.

"Across the nation we've had something of a test frenzy. Testing and accountability are real hot," said Janet Rope, chief of the new Office of System Accountability for DoD schools. "The Department of Defense schools wanted to make sure that we stayed on the cutting edge of what's going on across the United States and to make sure that we have the right tests in place."

Many states have placed high stakes, such as graduation eligibility and promotion to the next grade, on test scores, Rope said. The Department of Defense Education Activity hasn't gone that far yet, because officials want to make sure that would be the best thing for students.

The Office of System Accountability will review DoDEA's testing procedures and make recommendations. "We want to take a good look at the type of tests we're using and make sure that they are the right kinds of tests to give us an accurate measure of how our kids are doing," Rope said. "We want to look at other options in the world of testing."

Rope said she believes the tests students take can impact their overall educational achievement. "We're hoping that, with the right kind of assessments in place, students will be motivated to achieve at higher levels and even be inspired to work harder on their school work," she said.

If parents and teachers have the most accurate information about students' abilities and progress, they can determine how best to help the students, she explained.

Beyond testing, Rope said, her office will look at other ways students' progress is evaluated. "We want to make sure that students have lots of different ways that they can demonstrate what they know and what they're able to do," she said. "It might be a written test; it might be a performance assessment; it might be documentation that they're keeping a portfolio. There's a variety of ways that students can demonstrate that they're able to do something."

For more information on the Department of Defense Education Activity or the Office of System Accountability, visit their Internet homepage at http://www.odedodea.edu/.

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