A new report on growing resistance to high-stakes standardized testing around the country finds that the movement is growing and meeting some success in numerous states where officials have decided to cut back on the numbers of tests students must take and/or the consequences for students and educators.
The report, titled “Testing Reform Victories: The First Wave,” was done by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), a non-profit which has for many years worked to end the overuse and abuse of standardized tests. The author, Lisa Guisbond, took a national look at how states are responding to growing resistance from students, teachers, parents, principals, superintendents and others. She found, among other things:
• States repealing high school graduation requirements and rolling back other test requirements. Exit exam repeals or delays have been adopted in Minnesota, South Carolina, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Rhode Island. Virginia reduced the number of state tests, and Oklahoma, North Carolina and New York City reformed their test-based grade promotion policies.
• States postponing the consequences of Common Core testing include Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, DC, and New Jersey.
• Successful, high-profile protests in the form of opt outs, boycotts and other actions, from Seattle to Providence and Chicago to Austin and Lee County, FL.
• Opinion polls showing shifts in public attitudes against high-stakes testing, with PDK/Gallup (2014) reporting that 68 percent of the public school parents think standardized tests are not helpful.
• Teachers unions pushing back on test abuse with campaigns and resolutions. The National Education Association has launched a campaign against “Toxic Testing” and called on Education Secretary Arne Duncan to resign. The American Federation of Teachers voted to put Duncan on an “improvement plan.”
• In Seattle, Denver, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, and Michigan, candidates winning office by speaking out clearly against high-stakes testing.
• More colleges joining the test-optional admissions trend. There are now more than 830 accredited, bachelor-degree granting colleges and universities that do not require all or many applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.
You can see the entire report here.