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Student testing

A “Do Not Enter” sign hangs on a closed Racine Unified classroom door during state testing in February 2015.

RACINE — As the debate on the role of standardized testing in education continues, residents will have the opportunity to see a documentary on the subject.

On Thursday, the Racine Education Association and the Racine Education Assistants Association are scheduled to host a free screening of the film “Standardized Lies, Money and Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education.” The event is scheduled to take place at the Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St., at 5:30 p.m. with a discussion afterward.

Angelina Cruz, president of REA, said in a statement that the teachers union is trying to facilitate a conversation with the community on the subject.

“Our objectives as a local (union) are to both raise awareness in the community about the negative impacts high-stakes standardized testing have on teaching and learning and to foster a conversation with the Racine Unified School District administration to approach testing differently,” the statement said.

Cruz goes on to say in the statement that the REA is not opposed to tests.

“However, our intention is to highlight the overuse and misuse of high-stakes standardized testing, or tests that are used to make important decisions about students, schools and districts,” Cruz said, adding this is a nationwide issue. “Children would be better served if the professionals who are charged with their education were afforded the opportunity to design authentic assessments that are a more accurate measurement of meaningful intellectual growth, versus relying upon a multiple choice standardized test.”

Testing at Unified

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Currently the district tests students three time a year with the Measures of Academic Progress test for students in elementary and middle school. The state Forward exam is given to students in third through eighth grade.

The REA has been critical of the district’s use of standardized testing, arguing students are tested too much.

In December, The Journal Times published a review of Unified’s use of testing at the elementary and middle school level and found the district tests students beyond what is mandated by the state and federal government.

Stacy Tapp, chief of communications for Unified, said in a statement that the district is working with the REA to find a compromise on testing.

“We have begun conversations with the REA to understand their concerns and hear their ideas,” Tapp said. “We have also shared with them information about the assessments the district uses to understand our students’ needs and advance learning as well as to comply with state and federal requirements.”

The district uses the results of MAP test to judge the areas where students are doing the best. Tapp said that data is critical to improving the district.

“Assessments are an important tool educators use for continuously monitoring student, school and district progress,” Tapp said. “We are focused on improving instruction for our students and ensuring high quality, stress-free learning environments.”

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Alyssa Mauk contributed to this report.

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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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