Va. official backs off ending 3rd-grade history test

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A much-maligned proposal to eliminate the standardized history test for Virginia's third-graders is being withdrawn by the state superintendent of public instruction.

"I believe we need to continue to discuss the testing burden for teachers and young students," State Superintendent Patricia I. Wright said Friday. But she said she understood the concerns of the educators, legislators and others who disagreed with eliminating the test, which would have saved the state about $380,000 each year.

The plan to discontinue the history and social science standardized test was set to be considered by the state Board of Education next week. Virginia is one of five states, all in the South, to require a social studies test in the third grade, according to the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy.

The cumulative test measures what students learn from kindergarten through third grade, including topics such as China, Greece and Mali, and the contributions of Americans such as Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

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