Decision 2017: Board Candidates on Galileo Testing

How do you think Galileo testing should be used in the West Bend School District?

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Joel Ongert

Galileo testing should be eliminated immediately! Our students are being tested too much and this expensive platform provides no value for students, teachers or parents. Teachers should not be held accountable to tests that do not align with what is being taught in the curriculum, and neither should our students. These tests do not help the teachers individualize learning plans or improve outcomes. The time used for testing would be much better spent on teaching. The money saved by not having to pay for these tests could be allocated to positions where a need has clearly been demonstrated, such as social workers, librarians and classroom aides.

The district spends almost half a million dollars on Galileo testing with little results. Moreover, we are the only school district in the state using Arizona-based Galileo. It is not mandated, nor is it necessary because it has not been shown to improve state assessment scores. I will work to eliminate Galileo in the WBSD immediately.

Ryan Gieryn

Our new superintendent, Mr. Olson, has put together a project team of administrators and teachers that are currently reviewing the district’s assessment tools (Galileo) to determine whether the assessment tools that we have are measuring what they are intended to measure and whether or not the assessment tools comply with state and federal mandates. Given that I, and all of the other board members, are not professional educators, and a majority of us did not go to school to be educated in the education field, I believe that the board needs to rely on the recommendations of this project team as to whether or not the Galileo system is truly providing our district with the assessments that are needed. Once this project team has done its study and provided its recommendations, I believe that the board needs to review the results, ask good questions, and then make a decision based on the recommendations.

That being said, from anecdotal evidence that has been supplied by teachers, students, and parents, it does not sound, to me, that Galileo is currently measuring what the district had hoped it would measure. I feel that this is going to be evident in the results provided by the project team.

If I were to be re-elected to the school board, I would likely suggest that we follow whatever it is that the project team recommends. It might be a new form of assessment or possibly going back to something such as NWEA testing. Districts are mandated to have certain forms of assessments and universal screeners. It will be up to the project team to recommend what they think best complies with these state and federal mandates and what best suits the needs of the students and teachers in our district.

Nancy Justman

I think that standardized testing is necessary but I do not believe the Galileo test is the answer to what should be used in the West Bend District. We need to work with teachers and administrators to ensure that we are doing fair and accurate testing that is a true measurement of student success.

Tonnie Schmidt

I don’t think Galileo testing should be used at all in the West Bend School District. It is an expensive and ineffective way to measure student growth and teacher performance. Other districts write their own Student Learning Objectives, and I would support that in our district. I support the elimination of Galileo testing.

Richard Cammack

I need to sit down with teachers and get their input.

Bob Miller

I think we need to take a close look at the Galileo testing and see if it is working for our students and staff. We may need to look closely at changing the testing if it is not giving us the results that our community is looking for. I have done some research on the testing but have been unable to gain the knowledge of our current uses in our schools today. I am willing to consider other testing platforms if we as a community deem that Galileo is not working for our students.

Responses are full transcripts and listed in the order that the candidates will appear on the ballot. Read more about the candidates at The Current, including their backgrounds and their responses regarding Common Core and their motivations for running.

The school board election is Tuesday, April 4.

Interviews by Current reporters Maddie Aamodt, Abby Gawrych, Kritika Gupta and Lily Mottet.

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