ERIC Number: ED460954
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Testing Our Children: A Report Card on State Assessment Systems. Executive Summary and Summary of State Findings.
FairTest evaluated how well state assessment practices live up to the promise of high standards without standardization. The practices of states were measured against standards derived from the "Principles and Indicators for Student Assessment Systems," a 1995 publication of education and civil rights groups working through the National Forum on Assessment. FairTest used surveys, interviews, and various documents to evaluate the states and developed a scoring guide to evaluate each state. Survey responses were received from 44 states, and FairTest drew on other documents to evaluate the other 6 states. It found that, after nearly a decade of intensive discussions about the role and nature of assessment, and despite some important improvements, the fundamental approach of state testing has not changed. Labels have sometimes been revised to "assessment," but most state programs still rely on traditional, multiple-choice tests, and most states still use them inappropriately to make high-stakes decisions. Two-thirds of state student assessment systems do not even reach the middle level of system quality. One-third of systems need a complete overhaul, and another third need major improvements. In two-thirds of the states it may be said that testing systems often impede, rather than enhance, genuine education reform. Many states do not base their assessments on their content standards, and too many states use norm-referenced tests rather than tests that compare achievement to state standards. State findings are summarized, the standards and scoring guide are discussed, and a state data table is presented. (SLD)
Descriptors: Achievement Tests, Decision Making, Educational Assessment, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Objective Tests, Report Cards, Standardized Tests, Standards, State Programs, Surveys, Test Bias, Test Use, Testing Problems, Testing Programs
National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), 342 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139 ($10). Tel: 617-864-4810; Fax: 617-497-2224; Web site: http://www.FairTest.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), Cambridge, MA.