FairTest's work on K-12 testing issues centers on four broad concerns:
- Standardized tests, especially norm-referenced multiple choice tests, are harmful to children and to education.
- Basing high-stakes decisions on standardized tests (high school graduation, advancement, etc.) is bad educational practice while basing decisions about teachers and schools on test results damages education.
- Authentic assessment, such as performance assessment and portfolios, must be implemented at all levels, from individual classrooms to large-scale assessment (appropriate accountability), as an alternative to standardized tests. This section includes material on the Learning Record.
- Accountability: This section contains articles and links that analyze and critique current standardized test-driven models of accountability and alternative ideas, models and practices for accountability. This section includes pages on No Child Left Behind.
FairTest addresses these issues through:
- The Assessment Reform Network, which has the primary goal of opening doors for disadvantaged children and improve the quality of education for everyone. The ARN strategy is to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas among teachers, parents, education reform and civil rights organizations seeking to improve student assessment in their communities.
- FairTest also comments on testing issues in the major daily and education dailies and weeklies, on television and radio, and at conferences and hearings.
- FairTest helps organize collaborations of education, civil rights, parent and other organizations to work for assessment reform.
FairTest has authored numerous fact sheets and publications (such as annotated bibliographies) in the K-12 area, including:
Testing Our Children: A Report Card on State Assessment Systems by Monty Neill and the FairTest staff (FairTest, 1997)
- Principles and Indicators for Student Assessment Systems (HTML) by the National Forum on Assessment (FairTest, 1995)
- Implementing Performance Assessments: A Guide to Classroom, School and System Reform, by FairTest (FairTest, 1995) (see our publications catalog to order)
- Standardized Tests and Our Children: A Guide to Testing Reform by FairTest staff (FairTest, 1991) (see our publications catalog to order)
- Annotated Bibliography: Assessment of Language Minority (Bilingual) Students By FairTest (FairTest1995)*
- Annotated Bibliography: Assessment of Young Children By FairTest (FairTest, 1999)*
- Annotated Bibliography: Performance Assessment By FairTest (FairTest 1996)*
- Browse the archives of the FairTest Examiner newsletter for K-12 Stories
- See the Assessment Reform Network homepage for news about reform and resistance activities from across the country.
- Look at FairTest's reaction to NCLB on our national testing home page.
- Visit our experts and organizations page with links to resolutions passed by organizations, unions, and others that oppose high-stakes testing.
Links to information on tests and state testing programs.
- http://www.homeroom.com/irp/HR_assess_info.asp This Princeton Review website has state by state testing program information that appears to be accurate (though some may be out of date). There is no critical analysis.
- Buros Center for Testing http://www.unl.edu/buros/ produces the Mental Measurements guide - click on test reviews and you can obtain information on thousands of tests (not the tests however) for $15 per review.
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