#HowMuchTesting and for What Purpose? Join the Debate!

The “opt out” of testing movement has gained steam over the past few years and turned into a social movement. Professors across the United States are finally joining the debate in large ways.  Matthew R. Lavery from the University of Central Florida submitted the following to Cloaking Inequity about the discussion that will ensue at the upcoming American Educational Research Conference in Washington, D.C.

As the scholarly debate about the extent and purpose of educational testing rages on, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) wants to hear from you.  During a key session at its Centennial Conference this spring in Washington DC, entitled How Much Testing and for What Purpose? Public Scholarship in the Debate about Educational Assessment and Accountability, prominent educational researchers will respond to questions and concerns raised by parents, students, teachers, community members, and the public at large.

Any and all of you with an interest in educational testing and accountability are invited to post your questions, concerns, and comments using the hashtag #HowMuchTesting on TwitterFacebook,InstagramGoogle+, or the social media platform of your choice, as these are the posts to which AERA’s panelists will respond.

Perhaps you are a parent who has seen the effects of current testing practices on your child and her education.  Perhaps you are a teacher who has had first-hand experience with the intended and unintended consequences of high-stakes testing on you, your colleagues, or your students.  Perhaps you’re a community member who has unanswered questions about how testing does or doesn’t ensure quality education for all students.

Whatever your perspective, your voice is vital to this debate.  Please be heard by responding to this post, posting your own thoughts and questions through social media, and encouraging others to do the same.

Organizers are interested in all #HowMuchTesting posts, but they are particularly interested in video-recorded questions and comments of 30 – 45 seconds in duration so that you can ask your own questions, rather than having it read by a moderator. In addition, in order to provide ample time for the panel of experts to prepare for the discussion, comments and questions posted by March 17have the best chances for inclusion in the debate.

Thank you for your contribution to this important conversation!

I am chairing a Presidential session at AERA. More details soon about how you can participate in the session via social media that will feature Diane Ravitch, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Frederick Hess et al.

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s post on testing click here.

Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.

Want to know about Cloaking Inequity’s freshly pressed conversations about educational policy? Click the “Follow blog by email” button on the home page.

Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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  • Melinda K. Maddox

    First I must apologize for not knowing about this cite prior to today. That being said I am a Baby Boomer that has grandchildren ages 9 – 19 who stress excessively over taking all these tests. It would appear to me that we all managed to raise our children, buy homes, start businesses and many other things to achieve a good quality of life and were not pressured into taking these types of tests. The teachers are put under so much pressure to make sure their students pass that they can’t possibly have the time they need to teach they way they want to in order for their students to pass the classes needed to achieve a good grade. I would believe this would be the goal of all, teachers and students as well as parents. The school systems are so geared to these “Giant” tests that the stress and anxiety created in our teachers and students would be better served in the normal schedule of grading period testing in regards to the studies they have during that grading period not a horrible big test on things that would be better used in smaller more regular testing. All students do not test well due to the stress and anxiety related to the larger tests. The time spent on developing and taking these tests could be put to use by adding more study time in the average subjects that these students will need once they go on to the next grade and graduating. The money spent on these tests could be put into materials in the classroom that the teachers are having to provide where the schools do not have enough money as well as parents donating to the classroom so their children have enough supplies. I am a college graduate with a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology as i didn’t want you to think I am not educated in my opinion about this matter. Students and teachers do NOT need more testing.
    Melinda K. Maddox
    Haines City, FL


  • My school had to do the NAEP this year. This is in addition to the SBAC this spring. We have been doing annual testing for years. I would rather take the money and hire more reading coaches. I’ve seen very capable kids just type nonsense letters because they just don’t care about one more test.


  • This momentum that questions testing and e-testing is good news. I still think it’s too much about feeding the e-industrial complex – selling e-technology, e-testing, etc., etc., without well thought out purpose. Top down from the corporations to the schools.


    • Thanks for your comment, Monty! I wonder if you could say a bit more about the well thought-out purpose of testing. What do you see, and how does that compare to what’s reasonable/helpful?


      • I welcome corporate America into our schools. They need to partner with our students and schools. They need to provide internships and a road from graduation to employment. They just can’t sell their products and run. This partnership should be part of the deal to purchase their products.


      • I suppose I could write a dissertation on this, but, I’ve turned my bit of extra time to other research interests. However, I’ll share a few thoughts. I am now teaching in an isolated rural public school, the 8th grade and most high school subjects. I’m in a school that has been re-opened and is being re-built due to its closure in 2010 that happened in part because of the financial crises of 2007-2008. We’d, as political activists, had successfully replaced the public school with a “temporary” charter school for three years. That move ultimately forced the district to re-open the public school because the expected savings from consolidation didn’t work out for them. Now, the 100 year old public school is back. Testing! The district is now going through its third “tech administrator” in as many years and before we can even begin the tech solutions, equipment – i-pads, lab tops, computer systems and band width – issues must be worked out. None of that energy, time, expense, etc., relates to the actual teaching and learning going on in the classrooms. When we text students, at this point, it’s always done with the acknowledgement that this is JUST to familiarize students with the e-testing, the equipment, etc., and none of it COUNTS in terms of student’s real outcomes – i.e., grades, evaluations as to “accountability” or student achievement, and it’s all wasted time that teachers are burdened with and administrators feel obligated to comply with. Where’s the PURPOSE? The only PURPOSE I can see from the teacher’s, classroom perspective is we are fulfilling mandates that have been handed down from the corporate world to the upper reaches of state mandated testing being passed down, and down, and down, and down. As a teacher if several years experiencing this I have seen ZERO benefit. Meanwhile, I must sometimes explain these “tests” to parents, and, whereby there’s no real good explanation. Hope this helps!


      • Thanks, Monty, your reply does help a lot! I might like to get our panelists to respond to your observations about the time spent on testing that doesn’t fill an educational purpose. Would you be willing to video-record what you said in your reply?


  • Looking forward to seeing you at AERA FINALLY after being a follower of yours on WordPress for so long 🙂


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