The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County is now accepting public comment on a new policy and accompanying regulation that would replace the current high school semester exams with more timely quarterly assessments.
Policy IIH and its accompanying administrative regulation, IIH-RA, are posted here  and can also be accessed through the links below. Comments can be left on the website where the policy is posted for comment through October 17, 2015.
Principals have partnered with central office staff to work on this new policy since last school year.
School system staff has been working on the policy since last school year, and have had discussions with a variety of student, parent, and teacher groups. The Board reviewed the policy for the first time at its September 16, 2015, meeting, and will review it twice more before voting on it later this fall.
“This shift is intended to allow us to implement what we – and others – believe to be a more effective approach to teaching and learning and to better meet the instructional needs of our students,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “Systemwide quarterly assessments will provide our teachers with more rapid and more meaningful feedback, and will reduce both the student test load and the teacher workload while maintaining the rigor of instruction in our classrooms.”
Under the draft of the policy and regulation being reviewed by the Board, quarterly assessments will be taken by children in grades 3 through 12 during normal class periods and will reflect material covered during a given amount of time. As this topic has been being discussed, the Division of Curriculum and Instruction has been creating assessments that reduce the amount of tests children must take.
If implemented, the policy and regulation would alter the way grades are calculated for high school students. Currently, a student’s semester grade is made up of two marking period grades (40 percent each) and a semester exam grade (20 percent). Under the proposed policy and regulation, 50 percent of a student’s semester grade would come from each marking period. The quarterly assessment would make up 10 percent of a marking period grade.
“Other school systems are looking at this approach as well because it allows students to concentrate more heavily on material from a shorter period of time and provides teachers with a mechanism to see more quickly what, if any, material needs to be retaught in order for students to master a specific concept or standard,” Dr. Arlotto said.
Under the proposed policy and regulation, quarterly assessments need not be written exams. In a dance or art class, for example, the assessment could be a performance or project.
To see the video of the September 16, 2015, presentation to the Board of Education, click here .