"Less Testing, No High-Stakes, Better Assessments" -- that's the core message parents, educators and community leaders are effectively delivering to policymakers as a new school year begins across the nation. Look for a forthcoming FairTest report on "Testing Reform Victories 2015-2016" summarizing recent successes.
The back-to-school agenda for the growing, national assessment reform movement is straight-forward: cut the volume of standardized testing; eliminate high-stakes exam misuses; encourage alternative accountability systems. Campaigns are already having an impact in many states.
The pace of assessment reform news quickens as the 2016-2017 academic year begins to unfold across the U.S. In addition to revitalizing many ongoing controversies, a new issue in many jurisdictions is how much testing flexibility will be allowed under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Grassroots activists are actively campaigning to reduce the number of required standardized exams, eliminate high-stakes test misuses, and create more opportunities to develop better ways of assessing student learning.
Believe it or not, summer vacation is already over for students in several states. For example, the public school year began across Oklahoma and in Indianapolis on August 1. Many Florida districts re-open next week. With the start of classes, controversies over testing policies accelerate. At the same time, scores from last year's exams and opt-out statistics are being released.
The grassroots assessment reform movement has refused to take a "summer break." Across the country, parents, educators and community activists are pressing policymakers to take advantage of the increased testing flexibility allowed under the new federal education law. Already, many states have responded by cutting back standardized exam requirements. Where change is not taking place fast enough, organizers are building stronger opt-out campaigns for the 2016-2017 school year.
National Common Core Standards and Tests Cost Billions, Hurt Students
Pressure is growing on the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw punitive draft regulations for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act. At the same time, many states and districts are pursuing the assessment flexibility encouraged by the new federal law.