New assessment tests on horizon

By Lillian Bowe
Staff writer
lbowe@pntonline.com

The new school year is just around the corner and Portales Municipal Schools will be implementing a new way to assess their students.
Superintendent Johnnie Cain said the schools will be making their own assessment test which will test students on the state’s Common Core standards.
Cain said the test will follow the teacher’s curriculum and will be designed by the teachers. The tests will be issued every nine weeks and will show what areas the students need to work on.

The state requires schools to give an assessment test to students and Portales schools have been using the Discovery testing system which has caused issues with teachers.
“Discovery has core standards that come up on the test which the teachers have not taught yet, which of course shows negatively on the test results,” Cain said.

The teachers have no way of knowing what will be on the Discovery tests and the tests were not graded.
“With Discovery, we would have some students trying their hardest at it and others would just push buttons just to get through the test. This way the students will take it more seriously,” Cain said.

The test will also help teachers prepare for the new PARK testing, which will be testing for Common Core standards at the end of the year.
Cain said the teachers will be more prepared for PARK as they will know what areas the students need to improve on before the test.
Principals and teachers were included in the discussion to go to the new assessment and Cain said all the principals agreed that this assessment test would be an improvement.

Portales High School Principal Melvin Nusser said the assessment is a step in the right direction.
“I think this will really work,” Nusser said.
Cain said the assessments will be a process for the teachers, but they will get all the support they need.
“This test will help teachers see what the kids are learning,” Cain said.