PACT is dead, long live the new standardized test

A bill that ends Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (a standardized test for South Carolina students in grades 3-8) has passed into law.

The new, to be created test will take effect in 2009. Teachers have critized the PACT as results do not come in until late July, after the end of the school year, and it has no details on which areas students need improvement.

The new test will offer essay exams in March and a multiple-choice exam in May, the results would be received a few weeks after that.

The bill outlines the requirements of the new test:
(1) use academic achievement standards to push schools and students toward higher performance by aligning the state assessment to those standards and linking policies and criteria for performance standards, accreditation, reporting, school rewards, and targeted assistance;

(2) provide an annual report card with a performance indicator system that is logical, reasonable, fair, challenging, and technically defensible, which furnishes clear and specific information about school and district academic performance and other performance to parents and the public;

(3) require all districts to establish local accountability systems to stimulate quality teaching and learning practices and target assistance to low performing schools;

(4) provide resources to strengthen the process of teaching and learning in the classroom to improve student performance and reduce gaps in performance;

(5) support professional development as integral to improvement and to the actual work of teachers and school staff; and

(6) expand the ability to evaluate the system and to conduct in-depth studies on implementation, efficiency, and the effectiveness of academic improvement efforts.