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Stamford's Leone Backs Changes To 11th-Grade Student Testing

State Sen. Carlo Leone
State Sen. Carlo Leone Photo Credit: File

STAMFORD, Conn. -- The state Senate has approved a bipartisan plan to free high school juniors from controversial standardized testing, and area legislators are praising the move.

The proposal would end the requirement that 11th-grade students participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing. Instead, students would be able to take a nationally recognized college readiness exam.

“By replacing SBAC testing with a state-sponsored college readiness exam, we’re creating opportunities for our students to succeed,” said state Sen. Carlo Leone, D-Stamford.

“Students who may not have previously thought college was an option can now have that opportunity if they score well enough on a college readiness exam. This bill means less student stress and more student opportunity.”

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said, “By no longer requiring SBAC and replacing it with a nationally recognized college readiness exam, this bill will restore value to the test-taking process."

SBAC is a Common Core Standards-aligned set of tests that Connecticut administers to students from third  through eighth grades and once in high school.

Although they are designed as untimed tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium estimates that 11th-graders will spend a total of 8 1/2 hours taking English language arts and mathematics assessments. Legislators have heard objections from principals, teachers, parents and students regarding the SBAC tests.

Many juniors signed up to take the SATs on May 2. This was followed by two weeks of Advanced Placement exams. Some students took the SAT for a second time, and some for the first, on June 6. One week later, final exams will take place between June 12 and 18.

Legislators noted the advantages of providing a state sponsored entrance exam, helping open the door to college for every student. Thirteen Connecticut school districts currently provide the SAT to students for free.

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