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Schools Won't Be Evaluated By Student Test Scores If Bill Passes

<p>A computer lab at Westview High School.</p>

Rob Manning/OPB

A computer lab at Westview High School.

A bill that would temporarily prohibit standardized test results from being used to evaluate schools passed the Oregon House last week and now moves to the Senate.

"This House Bill 2680 does really two things: It prohibits using summative test results for the 2014-15 school year, to rate schools or evaluate teachers," said the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Susan McLain, D-Hillsboro. It's unclear whether the 2015 test results would still be used as a baseline to compare against future performance.

Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, says she is concerned the bill is a step in the wrong direction.

"We are taking this step backwards while the rest of the nation is moving forward," she explains.

Parrish says she is worried the bill is headed down a "slippery slope" that could lead to deciding, "We don't want to ever use testing as an accountability mechanism for our schools and our teachers."

McLain says of the moratorium, "This is not unusual when you are going through such a large change in your system."

She says she believes there needs to be an adjustment period for both teachers and students to iron out the kinks of the new tests. When asked if the test results from the 2014-2015 school year would be used as a benchmark to measure future performance she says, "There is nothing in the legislation that would stop that."

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Julie Sabatier, Rob Manning, Courtney Christy