"[The] refusal to participate in federally mandated testing programs likely represents a turning point in the history of assessment reform in the United States. The next few years will tell, as activists plan to dramatically increase refusals and to win policy changes in the states. Their avowed goals include less testing, an end to high-stakes uses of tests (that is, making decisions about students, educators, or schools solely or primarily on test scores), and implementation of other, educationally sound assessment practices.
Lots of stories this week demonstrating the impact of opting out and other effective protests against standardized exam overkill. Please continue to support the testing resistance and reform movement through your own grassroots work and by making a contribution to FairTest at:
Testing overuse and misuse is damaging public education by 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.
A controversial December 2015 memo from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is the latest in a series of hollow threats suggesting that states, districts and schools could lose federal financial aid if parents, students or teachers boycott standardized tests. The memo cites several possible penalties for states with high opt-out rates, including withholding some federal funds that help pay for testing. But none of the funding sanctions would affect local schools.
Congress has passed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA). This bill is the latest version of the long-standing Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces the universally despised “No Child Left Behind.” The new law presents both opportunities and dangers for the testing resistance and reform movement.