In the past five years cheating cases have been documented in 39 states plus the District of Columbia and U.S. Department of Defense schools, according to government and news media reports compiled by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). Jurisdictions with schools whose unlikely score gains were flagged by the Atlanta Journal Constitution or USA Today statistical analyses are not included unless there is additional evidence to confirm the listing:
Another incredible week for the assessment reform movement -- school boards adopting strong resolutions calling for a suspension of high-stakes testing, candidates speaking out against standardized overkill, new Congressional legislation to reduce federal mandates and many excellent commentaries at the same time parents, teachers and community organizers continue to speak out! Keep the heat on.
It's only the middle of September but assessment reformers have already recorded an initial set of "wins" for the new school year: Pittsburgh significantly reduced district-mandated testing, and Florida suspended a controversial statewide reading exam. Building on successes of the recent past, escalating "enough is enough" pressure on federal, state and local policy-makers should produce many more victories in 2014-2015. For a list of questions to ask your district, check out the second item in this week's collection of clips.
Schools and districts that receive federal Title I funds sometimes claim they will lose funds if parents, students or teachers boycott standardized tests required under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As far as we know, no school or district anywhere in the country has ever been penalized for failing to test enough (95%) of its students. Parents, students and teachers generally should not fear harmful consequences to their schools due to federal law if parents boycott standardized tests. Here is why:
The school year is barely underway, but testing resistance and reform actions are already escalating across the nation. In an attempt to slow the momentum and maintain the test-and-punish status quo, state and federal politicians continue to push back deadlines for implementing new exams and suspend punitive consequences. But parents, educators, students, community leaders and local officials will not relent until there is genuine assessment reform, ending standardized exam misuse and overuse.
This week's biggest assessment reform news was the vote to "opt out" of state-mandated standardized exams by the Lee County, Florida School Board. Though that was the most dramatic action so far this school year, we are seeing more and more local officials across the nation speaking out against testing overkill. As grassroots activists, educators, and experts ratchet up the pressure, expect more politicians to join the chorus of Americans saying, "Enough is enough!"