Monday, March 3, 2014

Test-Based Accountability Doesn't Work

The groundswell of public opinion in opposition to expanded standardized testing in schools continues to grow. Today in Denver, Colorado, a group of students known as the Denver Student Union held a rally as part of their first State of the Student Address. The primary focus of this group was to encourage the governor to end the culture of high stakes standardized testing in schools. Speakers today argued for a more meaningful educational experience, based on the arts and sciences, rather than test preparation.

And this challenge to high stakes testing - and the accountability attached to it - is also the focus of many education reformers who have seen little progress or improvement in the decade ruled by the No Child Left Behind Act, which basically mandated a system of testing. Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy has been writing about the "Failure of Test-Based Accountability." Basically, the use of high stakes test to promote and even guarantee growth has shown little improvement in student achievement. And, research now reveals that grades - GPA - are a more important and effective indicator of student achievement than standardized tests. In fact, students who don't submit test scores are at no disadvantage to those who do.

Ultimately, the backlash against standardized testing is only going to grow. And state boards of education are going to need to re-evaluate the broad-based faith they have put in tests.

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