Welcome to 2012 Testing Reform Efforts

FairTest News

FairTest Examiner, January 2012

As we start the new year, FairTest welcomes you back to the Examiner newsletter with an issue featuring our just-released report, NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure? Researched and written primarily by our staffer Lisa Guisbond, NCLB’s Lost Decade contains a wealth of useful information you can use to advocate for a profound overhaul of the mislabeled “No Child Left Behind” law.

Fortunately, as the report also shows, we know a great deal from the U.S. and other nations about better ways to pursue assessment and school improvement. The critical question is how to win those changes.

That is what will be a major focus of FairTest work this coming year. Because of gridlock, it remains unlikely that Congress will reauthorize federal education law in 2012. This year is the crucial time to build a base for fundamental, not cosmetic, reforms.

FairTest also sees 2012 as one in which more colleges will adopt test-score optional admissions policies, accelerating this important trend toward equity in access to college. Clark University in Worcester, MA, is the latest highly selective school to drop ACT/SAT requirements, as recounted in our other Examiner story for this issue.

We will soon update the format of our list of more than 850 test-optional colleges, our most popular webpage (http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional), making it even more accessible to the hundreds of thousands of students, parents and counselors who use it each year.

Overhauling NCLB and strengthening the test-optional admissions movement are two major reasons you should continue to support FairTest. Many of you made generous donations at the end of 2011 – December was our best month for individual donations ever. But we very much need your help year round. You can donate at https://secure.entango.com/donate/MnrXjT8MQqk or by sending a check to FairTest, Box 300204, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.

We wish you a healthy and happy new year. Working together in 2012, we can make real progress toward bringing sanity to the use of testing.

Monty Neill
Executive Director

P.S. We’d like to hear from you, as well – your ideas and what you are doing to make a difference in the important social change area of testing reform. Write us at fairtest@fairtest.org.