Let’s Challenge the “Testing Juggernaut”

Arnold Dodge and Charles Lavine have an article in Valerie Strauss’ Answer Sheet column in today’s Washington Post.  It’s titled, “Legislator, educator challenging ‘testing juggernaut’.”  Dodge is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration at Long Island University-Post.  Lavine is a member of the New York State Assembly.  It is rare to have educators and politicians collaborate.  Their article speaks to the growing number of parents and teachers who continue to question the state of testing in America.

Dodge and Lavine write:

“The current testing regimes, which impact every facet of school life, are crippling our students’ ability to learn, grow and develop. A recent national poll by PDK/Gallup found the public less than enthusiastic about significant increases in testing, with 41% of respondents saying that additional testing made no difference in school performance and 36% responding that it had hurt school performance.”

At what point will federal and state education officials realize that NCLB and Race to the Top were, and are, poor initiatives that have led to little or no change in the academic achievement of our students?  How long will it take until we realize that we are over-testing our students?

Dodge and Lavine argue that, “We need a rich curriculum, assessment and measurements that are formative and diagnostic for teacher use, an honest look at our current strengths in the worldwide education stage, and an understanding that stressed out kids will not be successful learners.”

Teachers and school leaders embrace the idea that assessment is critical to their profession.  Teachers use data on a daily basis.  Formative assessment is the cornerstone of differentiated instruction.  Imagine, however, what teachers in America could do if all of the money that is spent on paying testing companies was, instead, spent on teacher training and materials of instruction?

We need more advocates like Dodge and Lavine.  We need governors and state education heads to stand up for their children.

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