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.
States That Recently Eliminated or Scaled Back High School Exit Exams
The number of states requiring high school graduation exams in language arts and math has significantly shrunk over the past few years. Thirteen states have graduation tests in place for the high school class of 2017, down from a high of 27 that had or planned such tests. The current number is the lowest level since at least the mid-1990s.
"Time to Abolish High School Graduation Tests" explains in two pages how and why mandated high school exit tests damage students and the quality of education. These tests deny diplomas to tens of thousands of students, disproportionately children of color, immigrants or youth with special needs; they do not improve college or career prospects but feed the school-to-prison pipeline; new Common Core tests are likely to increase the dropout rate; and more.
Technology “permits us now to do in nanoseconds things we shouldn’t be doing at all.” – Gerald Bracey
Education policymakers and technology providers have joined forces to accelerate a longtime push for “test data-driven” education interventions. Both sectors look to computer-based curricula and data collected with online tests to control classrooms and define educational outcomes.
Overhauling Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning:
New Opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) creates valuable opportunities to replace standardized tests with performance assessments. These can promote the engagement, creativity and critical thinking skills that have been stifled by teaching to standardized tests.
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.