Principals Agree Standardized Tests Are Inadequate Measures

K-12 Testing

Principals at 20 New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC) schools report that standardized tests are inadequate measures of the learning expected of their students. NASDC raises private sector funds to support a variety of comprehensive school reforms.


According to a survey by the Rand Corporation, principals in most NASDC schools also said that teachers typically put aside their school's curriculum in order to focus on test-taking skills and the content covered by the tests.


The principals concern was not motivated by poor performance: 11 of the 18 schools with state-mandated, multiple-choice tests showed rising or good test scores. However, in some low-scoring schools, the principals explained that while they thought teaching students to think critically would raise test scores, students scores actually declined.


Principals of schools in the 12 states that required performance assessments supported those assessments as compatible with their schools learning goals. This was despite the fact that seven of the 12 reported low or mixed results on the performance tests.


Reforming and Conforming, RAND, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407; (310) 451-7002; $15.00.