State Sen. Joey Brush said he hopes to have an impact on education in Georgia by serving on a committee that will study testing.
Brush (R-Appling) has been appointed to the Senate Study Committee on Educational Testing by Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Assignments.
"We want to look at the overall process; what tests we are giving, what time of year, what we are trying to accomplish and are we accomplishing these things," Brush said.
With President Bush's No Child Left Behind educational reform, accountability and testing have become buzzwords for educators.
Testing will become more crucial for some Georgia pupils this year. This upcoming school year will be the first where third-graders will have to pass the reading portion of the Criterion-Reference Competency Test as a condition of promotion to the next grade.
In the 2004-2005 school year it will not only apply to third-graders, but fifth-graders will be required to reach grade level on the reading and math portions of the test. In the 2005-2006 school year, in addition to third- and fifth-graders, eighth-graders will be required to pass the reading and math portions of the test to be promoted.
"With high stakes testing there's a lot of debate about what we are doing and what we are accomplishing," Brush said. "A lot of our constituents want to have these questions answered."
This year, Brush was appointed to serve as the chairman of the Senate Educational Committee and helped to shepherd Gov. Sonny Perdue's educational legislation through the Senate.
Next January, when the legislature reconvenes, the members of the study committee are expected to make a report of their findings and recommendations and offer suggestions for proposed legislation.
"Many people believe we test our children too much," Brush said. "Children spend precious classroom time preparing to take nationally norm-referenced tests, the Georgia-based Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, writing assessments and graduation tests.
"Is all this testing necessary? Is it efficient? Is it what we need to do to ensure accountability? Hopefully, we will be able to find the answers to these questions as the people of Georgia and education experts give us their opinions, ideas and suggestions."
The committee, which will be disbanded at the end of the year, expects to hear from teachers, parents and other education leaders over the coming months.
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