Does Inclusion in Testing Mean Inclusion in Meaningful Learning?
Federal law requires 95% test participation, including for the vast majority of students with disabilities. (One percent of all students may be assessed to alternative standards with alternative assessments. Federal law leaves it up to each state to decide what to do if a school or district does not test 95%.) The theory is that full inclusion in testing will drive full inclusion in learning the “standard” academic curriculum.
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest version of the long-standing Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It replaces the widely despised “No Child Left Behind.” The new law presents both opportunities and dangers for the testing resistance and reform movement.
With public schools closing for the summer, many states are reviewing their 2015-2016 testing experience (once again, not a pretty picture) and planning to implement assessment reforms in coming years. You can help stop the U.S. Department of Education from promoting testing misuse and overuse by weighing in on proposed Every Student Succeeds Act regulations.
Many states are beginning to review their assessment and accountability systems to comply with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Input from grassroots stakeholders -- particularly parents, educators and community leaders -- can help determine whether the revised policies help improve learning and teaching or simply put a different gloss on failed test-and-punish systems.