Chesterfield County has boosted its number of fully accredited schools to 98.4 percent ,but the county is pioneering new, and they say better, methods to measure growth.
Chesterfield County School Superintendent Dr. James Lane says the numbers are good. “We are proud of the progress we have made in Chesterfield over the past year. One of the things we tried to do was to show that if we decreased the focus on testing and increased the focus on student engagement, that great scores will follow, and we saw that.”
But Chesterfield is moving away from “teaching to a test,” with what they call a balanced assessment and this year 30% of the students are being measure by growth and performance with interactive computers that measure more than just rote answers. “The assessment we give is computer adaptive, so you can’t really prepare for it because it adapts to the answers that you give,” said Lane.
He says in three years, the entire system will be using balanced assessment and hopes it may become a model for measuring student growth statewide.
“We think that learning is a byproduct of an amazing experience in school and we want to focus on student engagement. If students are engaged in learning and they love what they are doing and we can drive a rigorous and relevant curriculum through that engagement process, we know that we will be able to maximize each student’s learning potential,” said Lane.