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The standardized tests to which our students have been subjected for two decades have not improved American education. They have degraded it into endless months of test preparation, for tests of dubious reliability and validity. Schools have reduced or eliminated the arts, recess, civics, and other subjects because they “don’t count.” Only the tests count.
Standardized tests do not reduce achievement gaps. Standardized tests do not increase equity. Standardized tests label children as winners or losers, and the same students are labeled “losers” or “failures” year after year by these flawed instruments. Standardized tests are highly correlated with family income. Standardized tests had their origins in racist and eugenicist theories. They should be thoroughly discredited, but our policymakers refuse to see the harm they do.
Federal law requires that every student in grades 3-8 take standardized tests in the spring. The teachers are not allowed to discuss the questions. The scores are returned 4-6 months later, when the students have different teachers. The teachers are not allowed to know which questions students got right or wrong. The tests have no diagnostic value. None.
National Center for Fair & Open Testing
for further information:
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
mobile (239) 699-0468
WHAT: National Town Hall on Suspending High-Stakes Testing in Spring 2021
WHO: U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman, New York — House Education Committee
Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, Dean, University of Kentucky College of Education
Dr. Lorrie Sheppard, Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Colorado
Dr. Jack Schneider, Asst. Professor, Leadership in Education, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Lisa Escarcega, Colorado State Board of Education
Roberto Jiménez, School Committee Member, Chelsea, Massachusetts
The event will be MC’d by Bob Schaeffer, Executive Director, FairTest,
and Ilana Spiegel, University of Colorado Board of Regents.
WHEN: Tuesday, January 26, 2021 — 6:00pm EST
WHERE: online via Zoom webinar
HOW: Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FCKpfQKmSqmXKMo-KKH3Og — recording available via Facebook after the event
WHY: Public school parents, educators, and community leaders believe that no test score is worth risking the lives of students and school personnel. Forcing children to return to classrooms to take government-mandated standardized exams would be dangerous and irresponsible. No one needs a test to know that many low-income children in under-resourced schools have fallen further behind. Results from tests administered this spring could not be valid or reliable; the conditions in which students tried to learn have not been “standardized.”
Parents and educators overwhelming support canceling spring 2021 exams. According to the “Understanding America Study” by the University of Southern California, nearly two thirds of parents agree with suspending this year’s testing mandates. Fully 72 percent of Black parents favor cancellation. So do the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.
The time and resources spent administering tests this year would be better invested in educating students while supporting their emotional needs. Federal testing requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act and state high-stakes exam mandates must be suspended for at least another year.