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Hall County Schools moves testing dates back

No extra days added; digital makeup options being explored

POSTED: February 24, 2014 7:55 p.m.

Hall County students can rest easy: Barring any further bad weather, their spring breaks and summer vacations are free from being intruded upon.

Additionally, the state Department of Education has approved Hall schools’ moving back testing windows for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and the End of Course Tests.

“We did get approval from the department to change our CRCT administration window to the week of May 1 and 2, then continuing on through that next week on May 6, 7 and 8 with makeup (tests) on the 9th. Then, of course, our

EOCTs have now been moved to the week of May 12,” Middle Grades School Improvement Specialist Kevin Bales said.

Moving the CRCTs allows for an extra nine to 10 instructional days, Bales said.

“It’s more days than the kids have actually missed,” he pointed out, saying only seven days have been missed this year because of winter weather. “So if we have questions or concerns among our communities and parents regarding, ‘What are we going to do to make up that time before testing?’ the movement of the window itself is going to assist in regard to that.”

Retesting for students who don’t pass the standardized tests is tentatively scheduled for May 27-30, which are planning days for teachers. Transportation will be provided for those students.

For the EOCTs, all high chool seniors will take the tests online to receive the results within 48 hours, Superintendent Will Schofield said.

Graduation dates are scheduled for May 22-24, and May 27.

The Hall County School District has missed eight days in January and February because of inclement weather; one day was made up Feb. 17. Schofield suggested at Monday’s school board meeting that the district consider ways for students to make up the time digitally.

He pointed to how teachers used Feb. 11-12, days when school was not in session, to share lessons with students via their websites or other online portals.

“We’ll look back on those two days as taking our staff, as taking our school community, and realizing that all learning does not have to take place within schoolhouse walls and rows of desks,” Schofield said. “It was exciting.”

He said the district is working with Forsyth County Schools to develop ideas on how students could make up the instructional time missed.

The state board of education waived days missed because of winter weather for all schools at its Feb. 20 meeting, saying it was up to the local boards on how to make up those days, if desired.

“My recommendation would not be to get into spring break,” Schofield said.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by trying to bring people back during spring break. Bringing people back after the fact, that have already completed their work for the year after graduations, we also believe would be counterproductive.

“So unless we get some more bad weather, we’re not considering bringing students who have completed their work back after graduations.”


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