Imagine if MA adopted MCAS 2.0 and streamlined tests along the lines of learning progressions rather than grade levels.
The tests would be given in a progressive way with multiple learning paths. For example. Johnny might begin with test one and test up to level six for math and level two for reading which would send a signal to look for ways to enrich his math and strengthen his reading.
This kind of testing would move schools towards teaching to the child rather than to a grade level, and hopefully instill a sense of moving every child ahead rather than comparing children to one another because of their age.
Yet, can testing truly set the stage for encouraging and teaching the whole child? I don't think so, and that's why I think these mostly skill and knowledge tests should be streamlined and used once a year saving time for very important holistic factors of teaching and learning.
New tests can move us away from those who succeed and those who fail towards an attitude and effort to move every child ahead step-by-step at a pace that works for the child. This in turn would change the way schools are organized and children are taught leading to greater multi-age groups and activities at school.
One reason I like this idea is because as I teach math I notice how we hold students back and push students too far forward just because they're in the same grade. Instead let's teach and test students where they are at and use what we learn to better support a child as he or she moves forward with confidence, dignity, and learning that will support his/her future endeavor and happiness.