Task force looks to fine tune ACP exams

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In search of a collaborative solution, a mix of 22 principals, teachers and parents opened a discussion on improving the Assessment of Course Performance, or ACP, exams during an initial meeting on Jan. 28.

With support from Superintendent Mike Miles, the ACP Task Force is charged with exploring ways to improve the testing process for so-called specials courses (art, music and physical education) for students in grades 3-5.

The task force includes a principal and a specials teacher from each academic division as well as special education teachers who provide instruction in specials, community members and parents. The collective is due to provide recommendations to improve the administration of those tests to Dallas ISD leaders by the end of May.

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The goal isn’t to eliminate ACP testing in specials courses. According to district leaders, the task force will recommend ways to adjust testing while ensure the testing process continues to provide reliable and valid data to evaluate teachers.

The idea to form the ACP Task Force was developed in December 2014. Following a review by Miles of concerns from parents, teachers and Board of Trustee members, a decision was made to take a deeper look into the testing process for elementary school special classes. While ACP tests provide valuable data to measure teacher performance through the Teacher Excellence Initiative, there were some that believed the testing of young children in specials courses was less than ideal.

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At the time, Miles informed the Board of Trustees that the task force would be formed in January 2015. However, a decision was made on Jan. 8 to eliminate the elementary specials ACP tests for kindergarten, first- and second-grade students. As such, the ACP Task Force will only focus on ACP specials testing for grades 3-5.

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