Sign yourself and persuade your local school board and community organizations to endorse the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. It is on the web at: http://timeoutfromtesting.org/nationalresolution/. Also: a) Endorse the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB. b) Use NCLB overhaul recommendations of Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA).
To win federal Race to the Top grants or waivers from No Child Left Behind, most states have adopted teacher and principal evaluation systems based largely on student test scores. Many educators have resisted these unproven policies. Researchers from 16 Chicago-area universities and more than 1,500 New York state principals signed statements against such practices. Chicago teachers even struck over this issue, among others. Here’s why these systems-- including “value added” (VAM) or “growth” measures -- are not effective or fair.
Are standardized tests fair and helpful evaluation tools?
Not really. On standardized exams, all test takers answer the same questions under the same conditions, usually in multiple-choice format. Such tests reward quick answers to superficial questions. They do not measure the ability to think deeply or creatively in any field. Their use encourages a narrowed curriculum, outdated methods of instruction, and harmful practices such as grade retention and tracking.
FairTest, 12 other organizations, and prominent individuals have drafted the following a national Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. We call organizations and individuals to endorse it. We also encourage people to write letters and get organizations to endorse it; here are some tools you can use.
1) Hold a public forum in your community to discuss NCLB.
2) Build local alliances that link testing reform from your school/community to state and federal issues. Reach out to teacher unions and other education organizations; parent, community, civil rights and faith-based groups; labor unions; civic associations; business groups when you can.
3) Persuade your organizations to pass resolutions calling for reform of NCLB. (Such resolutions are often issued by unions, religious groups, professional associations, and parents groups.) Ask them to: