Washington D.C. — Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued a statement on the Obama administration’s testing action plan released today:
The testing action plan released by the Obama administration today provides a commonsense set of solutions to move toward better, fairer, and fewer tests in America’s schools. Through the Center for American Progress’ report “Testing Overload in America’s Schools” released last fall, we documented that there is an overemphasis on tests and test preparation in schools that does not put students first. Tests can provide important information for parents, teachers, and school leaders who need to know if students are on track to graduate from high school ready for college or career. But many students are simply tested too often, as frequently as twice per month and once per month on average.
As we documented in our report, despite the widespread perception to the contrary, most standardized tests are required by states and school districts, not federal law. Although test administration takes a small fraction of learning time, tests have taken on outsized importance in schools and test preparation takes up valuable instruction time. That is why the Center for American Progress has long called for a broader array of qualitative criteria to evaluate the quality of schools, including school-quality reviews, climate and safety measures, success of students on college-preparation curricula, and/or measures of social and emotional learning. We have also called for districts to review and streamline the number of tests they administer to limit the amount of time students spend taking them.
The action plan released today provides an important set of recommendations to improve school quality, such as capping the amount of time devoted to standardized testing at 2 percent of instructional time and ensuring that tests have a strong instructional justification. I commend the U.S. Department of Education for its release.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.6331.