Testing Reform Victories 2015: Growing Grassroots Movement Rolls Back Testing Overkill

for further information:


Lisa Guisbond     (617) 959-2371

Dr. Monty Neill     (617) 477-9792

or Bob Schaeffer  (239) 395-6773                                                                                                                      

for immediate release Monday, November 9, 2015




Pressure from parents, students, teachers, school officials and community leaders began turning the tide against standardized exam overuse and misuse during the 2014-2015 school year, according to a new report released today. “Testing Reform Victories 2015: Growing Grassroots Movement Rolls Back Testing Overkill” shows that many states reduced testing mandates, eliminated score-based consequences, and implemented better assessments. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), a leader of the U.S. assessment reform movement, released the study.

Lisa Guisbond, the report’s author, explained, “Public pressure has forced policy makers to respond to the many harms resulting from the fixation on high-stakes exams. Even President Obama now concedes that testing has gone too far. Opinion polls show a sharp shift against overreliance on test-and-punish policies in favor of assessments based on multiple measures.”

Among the concrete assessment reform victories documented in the new FairTest report:

-   Policy-makers repealed California’s graduation test. Six other states recently overturned similar requirements, reversing a trend toward exit exams. California, Georgia, South Carolina and Arizona also granted diplomas retroactively to students denied them by test scores.

-   Florida, Oklahoma, New York and North Carolina suspended or revised their test-based grade promotion policies. New Mexico legislators blocked their governor’s attempt to impose one.

-   Several other states, including Texas, Minnesota, Virginia, Colorado and Maryland rolled back testing mandates. So did many districts, led by Lee County, Florida.

-   Opting out surged to record levels in New York, New Jersey, Washington, Colorado, Illinois and elsewhere. The national total approached 500,000.

-   Polls show that large numbers of Americans agree that there is too much standardized testing and that it should not be used for high-stakes purposes.

-   Three dozen colleges and universities eliminated or reduced admissions test requirements. The record test-optional growth means that more than 850 schools now offer such policies.

-  Promising efforts to develop alternative systems of assessment and accountability are under way in California, New Hampshire and New York. All deemphasize standardized tests while incorporating multiple measures of school performance.

Ms. Guisbond concluded, “The movement’s growth and accomplishments are tremendously encouraging. But it’s far too early to declare victory and go home. Activists will use lessons learned from last year’s successes to expand and strengthen the testing resistance movement and ensure that policy makers go beyond lip service to implement meaningful assessment reforms.”


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2015-Resistance-Wins-Report-Final.pdf1.99 MB
2015 Resistance Wins Report INTRO ONLY.pdf318.12 KB