FairTest Report: Test Reform Victories Surge in 2017: What’s Behind the Winning Strategies?

FairTest Report: Test Reform Victories Surge in 2017: What’s Behind the Winning Strategies?

Assessment reform campaigns rolled back the amount of testing and slashed high-stakes exams in many states and districts across the U.S. in 2017. This new FairTest report explains how and why local activists were successful. 

The report highlights victories that include:

  • States with high school exit exams dropped from 25 to 13 since 2012. 
  • Various states cut tests for Kindergarten and high school. Districts across the nation, including locales with many students of color and low-income families, ended their tests.
  • Seven states halted the use of student scores to judge teachers. 
  • Ten states now allow parents to opt their children out of some or all exams.
  • Increasing implementation of performance assessments by states and districts. New Hampshire’s pioneering program now involves half the state’s districts.

The report focuses on case studies of Maryland and seven districts that eliminated or sharply reduced the amount of testing, and of states that ended graduation tests. The studies describe how the victories were won, such as through clear organizing strategies, alliance building, using surveys, developing clear messages that focuses on benefits to students, and winning school board elections.

These cases will be of use to union, parent, student and other activists seeking to end the overuse and misuse of tests and implement teacher-developed, student-focused performance assessments. The report also includes links to a usable, online survey developed by FairTest and allies.

 

Individual Sections of the Report: