- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 4, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Knox County Board of Education has decided to stop using a standardized test to chart the achievement of students in first and second grade.

Media report the board voted 6-2 on Monday to stop using the Stanford Achievement Test Series, Tenth Edition, or SAT-10, at the end of the school year. The assessment focuses on reading, language and math.

Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre said last week that testing for kindergarteners would stop after this year, but would continue for other grades. The testing has raised questions and concerns from the community for months.

Supporters of ending the SAT-10 say students are assessed too often and have complained that the SAT-10 is too difficult. They say other forms of assessment can be used to chart students’ progress.

Opponents said the test helped educators measure how students were doing in the classroom.

Whether to use the SAT-10 is up to each school district, and currently 84 out of 134 districts use it.

Newly elected Knox school board member Amber Rountree asked for the meeting on Monday and said she was “overjoyed” at the outcome.

“Our littlest kiddos in the district will not be subjected to a test that is not developmentally appropriate for their age level when we can get that information from other assessments that we use,” she said. “I’m hoping there are a lot of relieved parents and educators in Knox County tonight. I know I feel good knowing that those kiddos are not going to have to take that assessment this spring.”

Board member Gloria Deathridge voted against the proposal, saying that the panel has delegated curriculum to the superintendent

“That’s why we have a director and administration in order to make recommendations. If we don’t like it, we change policy and make recommendations, talk to him and then vote it down,” she said.

“But to have a called meeting to come in and vote it down on curriculum, I just think that’s a precedent we don’t want to start that will carry on into the future. The board sets policy; I don’t think we should start trying to dictate and vote on the curriculum.”

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