FairTest Denounces NAEP Plans for More Multiple-Choice Testing

K-12 Testing

FairTest has issued a public letter denouncing National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) plans to test more subjects more often in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). To pay for the more frequent testing, NAGB intends to use more multiple-choice items and fewer open-ended items. Final Board action is expected in August.


FairTest termed NAGB s proposal a case of quantity over quality and urged continued use of performance tasks even if it means less testing. The letter added that the U.S. is already overrun with multiple-choice tests, an intellectual kudzu choking the flowers of real learning out of schools.


In the past, NAGB has had to be pushed into using performance assessments and has often used fewer items of that type than has been recommended by the subject area committees set up to develop the assessment frameworks (see Examiner, Spring 1992, Spring 1990). It also has consistently tried to expand the amount of testing it does (see Examiner, Winter 1993-94).


Meanwhile, NAGB has called an independent study of NAEP, to be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, too costly, and maintained that it is not likely to be useful. Several independent evaluations of the processes used in NAEP to determine levels of achievement have sharply criticized those procedures (see Examiner, Fall 1991, Spring 1992).


NAGB can be reached at 800 N. Capitol St., NW, Washington, DC 20002; (202) 357-6938; fax (202) 357-6945.