NAEP Reading Scores Show Testing Mania Fails to Improve Learning; Education Quality Undermined for Low-Income, Minority Children

for further information:
Monty Neill (857) 350-8207
Bob Schaeffer (941) 395-6773

for immediate release, Friday, April 6, 2001


"The ‘Reading Report Card' released today provides further evidence that the testing mania sweeping the nation fails to improve school quality and, in fact, damages the education of our most vulnerable children," said FairTest Executive Director Dr. Monty Neill. "These data should bolster reformers working to stop President Bush's ill-conceived plan to force states to administer annual tests to every student in grades three through eight."
Among the facts from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Fourth Grade Reading report cited by FairTest:
– There has been no gain in NAEP grade four reading performance nationally since 1992 despite a huge increase in state-mandated testing;
– NAEP scores in southern states, which test the most and have the highest stakes attached to their state testing programs, have declined;
– The NAEP score gap between white children and those from African American and Hispanic families has increased, even though schools serving low-income and minority-group children put the most emphasis on testing; and
– Scores of children eligible for free lunch programs have dropped since 1996.

"The emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests is a proven failure," Dr. Neill continued. "It continues to undermine educational opportunity for low-income and minority students. More testing, as proposed by President Bush, will only reinforce the racism of low expectations and leave many more children behind."