Governor proposes cutting schools' standardized testing by a third

Gov. Mark Dayton wants to reduce the number of standardized tests Minnesota students take.

In a letter to leaders of education committees in the state House and Senate, Dayton said he wants to cut the number of state tests by a third. Under the governor's proposal, seven of 21 standardized tests would be dropped.

They include:

• the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test in math for third and fourth graders;

• MCA tests in reading for 6th and 7th graders; and

• the Explore, Plan and Compass tests taken by students in junior high and high school.

Minnesota students would continue to take the ACT test in their junior year. This spring for the first time all Minnesota students will take the ACT test for free.

The state teachers union, Education Minnesota, praised the move, saying it would reduce the burden of over-testing on students and teachers.

The Minnesota Business Partnership said the proposal it would hurt students' progress, because the state would have less information about how they are performing.

Any changes in state testing would need approval from Minnesota lawmakers and the federal government.

Editor's note (March 9, 2015): Some readers who saw an earlier version of this story may have inferred that Gov. Mark Dayton wants to cut the ACT test that Minnesota students take in 11th grade. To clarify, the governor wants to eliminate the Explore, Plan and Compass tests, which are part of the ACT package, but not the ACT itself.