Testing Reform Victories: The First Wave

for further information:
Dr. Monty Neill     (617) 477-9792
or Bob Schaeffer  (239) 395-6773                                                         
for immediate release Monday, September 8, 2014

NEW REPORT: “TESTING REFORM VICTORIES: THE FIRST WAVE,”
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” MOVEMENT MARKS MAJOR GAINS
ROLLING BACK STANDARDIZED EXAM MISUSE AND OVERUSE

The rapidly accelerating testing resistance and reform movement has made significant progress to reduce standardized exam “overkill” and win popular support across the U.S., according to a new report released today. “Testing Reform Victories: The First Wave” documents dozens of cutbacks in state testing mandates, reductions in score-based consequences and suspensions of new exams, all resulting from public pressure.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) released the study. Earlier this year, FairTest was an initiator of “Testing Resistance & Reform Spring,” which connected assessment protest leaders around the nation.

Lisa Guisbond, the report’s author, explained, “Resistance to test overuse and misuse has exploded in every part of the country. Parents, educators, students, community activists, taxpayers and local elected officials have found effective ways to say ‘Enough is enough!’ A majority of Americans now agree that it is time to cut the volume of standardized testing significantly, end high-stakes uses, and invest in better ways to assess students, teachers and schools.”

Among the emerging movement’s victories documented in the new FairTest report:

  • At least four states -- Minnesota, South Carolina, Alaska and Rhode Island – repealed or delayed graduation testing requirements;
  • Many other jurisdictions, including Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and New York City, rolled back the number of required exams or reduced their impact;
  • Common Core testing consequences were postponed in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, DC and New Jersey;
  • Candidates won office by speaking out strongly against high-stakes testing in Seattle, Denver, Long Island, Los Angeles, and Newark;
  • High-profile protests including opt-out campaigns, test boycotts, resolutions and other actions took place from Seattle to Providence and Chicago to southwest Florida;
  • Ten more colleges and universities adopted test-optional admissions, boosting the total of accredited, bachelor-degree institutions that do not rely on ACT or SAT schools for many applicants to more than 830; and
  • Public opinion polls, such as the recent PDK/Gallup survey, now show that a majority of Americans agree that standardized tests do not help improve learning and teaching.

Ms. Guisbond concluded, “As the new academic year begins, parents, students and teachers are buoyed by the rapid growth of the national test resistance and reform movement. In just the first few weeks of school, we have already seen board votes, strong statements from superintendents, multiplying opt-out pledges, and previously unsupportive politicians at the local, state and national levels back-pedaling in an attempt to appease test critics. There will be many more testing reform victories in 2014-2015.”

The full report “Testing Reform Victories: The First Wave” is available free online at: http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/TestingReformVictoriesReport.pdf

The executive summary of the report is available at: http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/ResistanceWinsReport-ES.pdf

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ResistanceWinsReport-ES.pdf51.44 KB
TestingReformVictoriesReport.pdf1.09 MB