Is second grade too young?

For some time there has been debate over whether second grade is just too early for students to begin taking the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program.

According to data released Monday by the California Department of Education, second graders in Sonoma County fell 4 percentage points in their English language arts scores from 2009 and dropped 3 percentage points in math.

Kris Cosca, principal at Santa Rosa’s Burbank Elementary said the second grade test has been modified to the point where it is more age-appropriate than it once was.

Students in second grade have the test questions read to them, for example.

“I think the second grade test has come a long way,” he said. “The length of the test has been reduced dramatically over the years. I think that has really helped.”

Cosca supports the second grade test.

“I think the sooner we get information for kids, the sooner we can come up with a plan for kids,” he said.

Scott Mahoney, principal at Corona Creek Elementary School and superintendent of the Waugh School district said that while he appreciates data an early stage of a student’s career, some kids actually get stressed out by the idea of STAR testing.

But Mahoney said the information is valuable.

If educators are held accountable for standards and students’ abilities to reach myriad benchmarks, then “we need to have some measure of whether or not that is happening, and second grade is three years into the system,” he said.

What do you think? Is second grade too soon?

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