Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NEA supports resolution to roll back high-stakes testing

Educators urge officials to develop new accountability systems

This from the NEA:
The National Education Association has signed on to a resolution calling on federal and state policymakers to reduce standardized test mandates and base school accountability on multiple forms of measurement. Other initial signers include the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Parents Across America and the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest).

“The overuse of standardized tests for high stakes decisions has shortchanged students, teachers and our education system in too many ways for far too long,” said Dennis Van Roekel. “We’ve lost sight of the reason tests were designed—to help gauge students’ comprehension and progress.”

The resolution’s cosigners have joined with public education advocates Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier to urge state officials to “reexamine school accountability” and develop a system “which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools.”

NEA has been a strong and vocal advocate of developing new accountability systems. An NEA policy brief issued in 2011 recommends that “assessment systems be developed with the collaboration and agreement of educators and other key stakeholders; should take into account the multiple factors impacting a student’s learning beyond a teacher’s control; and should be designed according to principles that allow their use with students of diverse abilities and diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

The full text of the resolution is online at http://www.timeoutfromtesting.org/nationalresolution.


Anonymous said...

You mean standardized testing results are suppose to be just one form of determining of a student learns something? I thought they were suppose to be the basis upon which parents could determine school choice, indicator for annual school wide time and resoruce distribution, guide for use of financial resources, identifier of effective teachers, basis upon which administrators and teachers retain their employment, empowering agent politicians and private vendor marketing,.....etc.

Wow, go figure, just a something to see if your kids learned. Surely it can't be that simple.

Eric Shoopman said...

I have to agree with the poster above me. Standardized testing has, in my opinion, had far too much importance placed on it. As a student I remember most of my classes and their curriculum were based around what was expected to be on the CATS and KCCT. I feel like we hardly ever learned anything because of the pressure placed on the teacher to get high test scores out of his/her students. One teacher in particular spent so much time complaining that there was not enough to time to teach us what was on the test, we hardly had a single real lecture. In theory the idea of rewarding schools for good scores was a good one, but I believe it has gotten to a point that our education system can't see the forest for all of the trees.

Meghan Swain said...

I too, agree that standardized testing has tried to take too much power in the schools. As a student, I can remember taking standardized testing as early as the second grade. It established where I was placed in classrooms, enrichment programs, and even reading groups. Assuming that on the day of those tests I was feeling normal, what would have happened if I had been feeling under the weather compared to highly-functioning and healthy? Would their have been a difference in my education either way? I have to believe that there would be.
I also have to say that it seems completely unrealistic to gauge how schools are functioning based on simply test scores. To fail a school because the students did poorly on a standardized test that they're not used to and don't understand well seems, well, a bit ridiculous.
I cannot say that this program works. One test, for example the ACT, should not declare your entrance to college, or your financial aid, which can be a bigger determining factor of going to college than your actual acceptance. While standardized tests are productive in theory, the practical use of them seems to have failed the educational system.