"To ensure meaningful and fair evaluations, evidence of student learning should not rely solely on standardized tests. Policies that use such measures in that inappropriate manner tend to misclassify the competence of teachers, as well as reduce the morale of teachers, create disincentives to teach the highest-need students, undermine public confidence in schooling and encourage teacher-preparation programs and schools to focus on raising test scores rather than on teaching children important concepts with a rich curriculum that includes the arts and humanities in addition to core subjects." This quote comes directly from the: U.S. Department of Education, For Each and Every Child—A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence, Washington, D.C., 2013. A group of 130 Massachusetts professors and researchers from some 20 schools — including Harvard, Tufts, Boston and Brandeis universities — signed a new public statement that urges officials to stop overusing high-stakes standardized tests to assess students, teachers, and schools. In a letter, the group said that the tests have fostered an “environment of intimidation, fear, anxiety, and stress for both teachers and their students.” Statement against High-Stakes Standardized Testing by Massachusetts Professors and Researchers: There has been a groundswell of opposition to the overuse and misuse of standardized testing across the United States. This includes statements from more than 670 Texas school boards, nearly one-third of all New York State principals, and hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals who have endorsed the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. Against this backdrop, two significant statements have come from groups of educators and researchers in Chicago, Georgia, and New York. We applaud these actions and have come together in solidarity with their efforts. We respectfully present this statement to the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, the Secretary of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) because you have it within your power to dramatically improve state assessment policies and thereby improve the learning opportunities and conditions for all of our students. We also copy this to the Governor and key legislators, as they too have the power to enact positive changes. As educators and researchers from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we strongly oppose our state’s continued overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing to assess student achievement, evaluate teacher effectiveness, and determine school quality. Given that standardized tests provide only one indicator of student achievement, and that their high-stakes uses produce ever-increasing incentives to teach to the test, narrow the curriculum, or even to cheat, we call on the BESE to stop using standardized tests in high-stakes decisions affecting students, teachers, and schools. This mindset is not just happening in Massachusetts, reports from Texas, New York, Seattle, and Chicago support this same mentality. In Texas, almost 900 school boards have adopted a resolution expressing their displeasure about an overemphasis on standardized testing. In New York State, more than 1,500 principals have signed a letter criticizing a new educator evaluation system for relying too heavily on student test scores. And in Seattle, some high school teachers garnered national attention last month when they refused to give a district-wide series of high-stake tests that they felt students were not prepared for. The Chicago Teachers Union urged administrators across the country to do away with standardized testing, saying the process is the product of pro-corporate agendas. In this article, The Key to ‘How Children Succeed’: Hint...It’s Not Standardized Tests, TakePart reports that grit, curiosity, and other characteristics propel students to excel in school, according to author Paul Trough. He writes about the qualities that matter most have to do with character—skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control, are all explored in his new book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. We are the majority, it is not too late time to opt-out! FairTest, has the most extensive resources - Members of this site are parents, educators, and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high-stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda. Spread the Word Now through Social Media!
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.