Scaling Back Testing

Scaling Back Testing We asked seven education practitioners and leaders to respond to the following prompt:

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Education released a “Testing Action Plan” recommending that states and districts administer fewer—but higher quality—assessments in schools. Coinciding with this announcement, the release of a comprehensive study from the Council of the Great City Schools on testing in 66 urban districts raised alarms about the frequency and efficacy of mandatory school tests. These two attention-grabbing releases added fuel to the already passionate national debate about what many see as “overtesting” in the nation’s schools.

As educators, scholars, and members of the K-12 community, how significant is this recent shift in the national dialogue around testing? And where do we go from here?

The problems in education lie not just with the tests, but how we use those tests to devalue our children and our democracy, write Kenneth S. Goodman and Yetta M. Goodman.

Standardized tests are not only a poor predictor of student success, but can also damage students' love of learning, writes the dean of enrollment at Hampshire College, which doesn't accept test scores in admissions.

Scaling back testing is only the first step in restoring the dignity of the teaching profession, writes retired educator Joseph A. Ricciotti.

Stagnating NAEP scores and a public shift on mandatory testing practices indicate the U.S. Department of Education has "run the classic bureaucratic scam," writes T. Robinson Ahlstrom.

There are three major and documented ways in which current accountability practices harm students, write Jennifer Jennings and David Cantor.


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