Task force wants test for all preschoolers
A proposal to require all 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool to take the same test would allow the state to better track the progress of its youngest learners, according to a plan the Legislature will consider next year.
A 35-member early childhood task force on Thursday chose a test now used by 80 percent of school districts that provide a preschool program: the GOLD online assessment system.
The system, which provides access to local and state data, will help teachers tailor instruction for individuals and allow families to view the assessments, according to the group’s final recommendation.
The universal testing program is estimated to cost $390,317, the group said. The price tag is dwarfed by the total cost of Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposed $177.5 million education reform that the Legislature will consider in January. Nearly a fifth of Iowa’s $1 billion budget surplus would go toward reforms under the governor’s plan.
Higher teacher pay, tuition reimbursement for prospective educators and expanded career options for classroom teachers are key components of the package.
A $25 million education reform plan proposed by the governor last year was opposed at the Statehouse by both Democrats and Republicans. Only $2 million in new money was ultimately appropriated for school improvement measures, with most of the funding focused on boosting early reading skills.