Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced new actions to ensure better, fairer, and fewer tests for students. According to a news release, the department is outlining proposed priorities for applicants of the Enhanced Assessment Grant, a competitive grant program for states and consortia of states to improve state academic assessments. It also proposed three additional priorities for applicants: developing innovative assessment item types and design approaches; improving assessment scoring and score reporting; and conducting an inventory of state and local assessment systems to eliminate unnecessary, redundant, or low-quality tests.
The department’s actions come weeks after the Center for American Progress launched the Testing Bill of Rights at TestBetter.org. The Testing Bill of Rights is an effort from educators, civil rights organizations, and education groups to articulate a middle ground on assessments so that tests are used in support of instruction, not the other way around. Catherine Brown, Vice President of Education Policy at CAP, released the following statement:
The Obama administration’s move today is another positive step toward eliminating redundant and meaningless assessments that take instructional time away from the classroom and moving toward better, fairer, and fewer tests for students and educators alike. The administration’s proposal—in line with a set of recommendations that CAP proposed in January and a Testing Bill of Rights that CAP, National Parent Teacher Association, and others released in March—will help provide critical resources to states that are developing processes to audit existing local assessments, taking action to eliminate unnecessary tests, developing state-of-the-art assessments that provide actionable information for parents and teachers, and improving scoring and the reporting of scores.
Through this announcement, the president and Education Secretary John B. King Jr. have demonstrated that they are listening to parents and taking action to address frustrations with the current assessments in place in many states and school districts.
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