Rochester is one of four New Hampshire school districts beginning the second year of the pilot PACE program, which replaces some standardized testing with locally-based competency systems that weave assessments into the curriculum throughout the school year.
Assistant Superintendent Mary Moriarty told Foster’s Daily Democrat that the program is less stressful and more comprehensive than traditional testing:
“Standardized testing disrupts the normal school environment because you often have to rearrange entire schedules,” she said. “Oftentimes students don’t even know when they’re taking their final PACE assessment.”
“…A group of students could be asked to do a project on how they would design a park, and that would count as an assessment,” she said. “So a big portion could be focused on math, but they might be required to do other things, such as write a letter to the city about planning and so on.”
She and other administrators also said that the results are more meaningful for teachers and districts–instead of simply a number or grade, PACE gives teachers a more comprehensive view of student performance. Four other schools will be starting their first year in the PACE program, including Concord, Pittsfield, Seacoast Charter, and Monroe.
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