Pressure is rising in state after state to reduce standardized exam overkill, end high-stakes and support better assessment measures. The beginning of testing season is a great opportunity to increase attention to the issue. Parents, students, educators, and community leaders should make sure that their elected representatives know of the strong support for real testing reform.
The pace of both testing resistance and assessment reform is definitely quickening as the late winter/early spring 2017 standardized exam season draws nearer. Great to see so many policy makers questioning the fundamental role and value of current volumes of testing and the stakes attached to them.
With the 2017 K-12 school testing season beginning soon in some jurisdictions, FairTest has released several new and updated fact sheets to help assessment reform activists organize resistance to standardized exam overuse and misuse. At the same time, many state legislatures are considering proposals to reduce testing overkill.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) authorizes states to allow parents to opt their children out of exams if a state or district allows it. Eight states already have laws allowing opt outs. New federal regulations ignore this provision, but states should not.
The pace of assessment reform news accelerates with legislatures back in session and annual school testing drawing near. Many states are beginning to use their new flexibility under ESSA as parents, students, teachers, supervisors, school board members and community activists push for major reductions in standardized exam mandates.
Testing overuse and misuse is damaging public educationby eating up classroom time, narrowing curriculum and driving many students out of school. It is perpetuating a false narrative of failure and putting schools in low-income communities at risk of closure or privatization.
"Time to Abolish High School Graduation Tests" explains in two pages how and why mandated high school exit tests damage students and the quality of education. These tests deny diplomas to tens of thousands of students, disproportionately children of color, immigrants or youth with special needs; they do not improve college or career prospects but feed the school-to-prison pipeline; new Common Core tests are likely to increase the dropout rate; and more.