Friday, January 23, 2015

Standardized testing

Two bills have been introduced to reduce the number of mandated testing in schools--low quality, redundant, and way too many. NCLB expired 8 years ago. I never met a teacher who liked it. Why is it still around? Children get something like 20 standardized tests a year. No one is doing well with that system except the lobbyists for the testing companies.

I went back and checked the history of standardized tests. "In 1914, Frederick Kelly invented the multiple-choice test. By the 1950s the average public-school student took three standardized tests before graduation." Maybe those were nationwide, because it sure seemed like more--like once a year. But I was a good student and poor test taker. I never took an SAT or ACT or GRE and was an A student.

The first bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and introduced Tuesday, would empower states to reduce the amount of low-quality and redundant testing given to students. While it would not affect the number of federally mandated tests given in schools, it would allow states to use federal funds to audit their assessment systems.

The second bill, reintroduced by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Wednesday, takes a more extreme approach on the issue of standardized testing. The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act would allow states and schools to scale back federal testing so that a student would only be tested once every few years -- once during grades three through five, once during grades six through nine, and so on. The bill was first introduced in 2014.

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