Montgomery Co. to end final exams for middle schools

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- Montgomery County middle school students won't have worry as much about final exams next year.

Montgomery County Public Schools announced Tuesday that the county school board endorsed a plan Tuesday to eliminate county developed final exams for middle schools.

The school board also will consider phasing out high-school final exams, possibly beginning as soon as the spring semester for the 2015-2016 school year.

"We have heard from many parents who are deeply concerned about the amount of instructional time that is lost to testing," Montgomery County School Board President Patricia B. O'Neill said in a statement. "This plan will increase instructional time while ensuring we continue to have the data and information we need to provide supports and services to our students and to monitor how our district is performing."

At Montgomery County high schools, most courses require end of semester exams. They are also given in some middle school courses.

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Under the plan approved by the board Tuesday, final exams developed by the county for middle school courses would be eliminated for the 2015-2016 school year. There will be additional discussions on a plan for high school exams, which would eliminate end-of the-semester exams in the second semester of the 2015-2016 school year that already have Maryland state end-of-course tests (Algebra 1, English 10, Biology and Government).

The plan was presented by Interim Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Larry A. Bowers.

"Our overall assessment strategy must reflect the fact that testing is not an event, but rather an ongoing part of our work to provide students with an education that prepares them for success in the future," Bowers said in a statement.

Bowers' plan would also eliminate all end-of-semester exams for high schools in the 2016-2017 school year, and instead use in-class assessments that are assigned throughout the school year.

The school board's Policy Management Committee will review the impact eliminate final exams would have. The school board says public input will also be considered.

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