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Senate begins debate on education law, focuses on testing. The Senate began its most serious attempt in years to rewrite the country’s main education law with a hearing Wednesday focusing on an issue that has caused an uproar nationwide: Whether states should be required to test students every year. An overflow crowd listened as witnesses described standardized testing as helpful and as harmful to learning, and lawmakers grappled with how much control the federal government should exercise over the nation’s 100,000 public schools. “There are two worlds. Contractors, consultants, academics and experts and plenty of officials at the federal and state level,” said Sen.

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). The current education law, known as No Child Left Behind, expanded the federal role in public education in 2002. The data laid bare gaps in academic performance between racial groups and put pressure on states to address them. Civil rights advocates say the transparency that came with testing was the most valuable contribution of the law. Cutting through the stupid on annual standardized testing. (bigstock) Perhaps the key struggle between Democrats and Republicans over the rewriting of No Child Left Behind will be about annual standardized testing.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican from Tennessee who just became chairman of the Senate education committee, says he is determined to get a bill rewriting No Child Left Behind to the Senate floor by the end of February. That would be something of a feat, given that NCLB was signed into law in 2002 and was supposed to be rewritten in 2007. Congress has been unable to get the job done since then. In new draft legislation, Alexander is offering two possibilities regarding annual standardized testing: maintaining the NCLB federal mandate of standardized testing in grades 3 to 8 and once in high school, or allowing school districts to decide.

The Obama administration — and Sen. In the following post, Bruce D. By Bruce D. School and local education agency accountability (e.g. imposing “death penalties” on those “failure factories”!) Report: Standardized Testing Debate Should Focus on Local School Districts. Students and teachers spend significantly more time on school district-required tests, as opposed to federal and state mandated tests that often elicit cries of a fixation on rating and ranking school children, according to a new study from Teach Plus. The study, released Wednesday, is the first to measure the time students spend taking tests, and the time teachers spend administering those tests. At the same time, the researchers also polled teachers on how test preparation affects instruction time, finding a much higher impact in younger grades. The researchers found that on average, students spend less than 2 percent of the school year on state and district tests for English and math, although the time was significantly less for kindergartners.

[READ: High Standardized Test Scores Don't Translate to Better Cognition, Study Finds] The opening sentences of the report summarize the testing controversy well. “No subject is more polarizing in education than testing,” the report says. The Standardized Testing Debate: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly. Standardized testing is one of the most passionately debated education topics in America. As a veteran teacher with more than 20 years of teaching experience in Missouri and Florida, I say with confidence, my fellow teachers and I are not afraid of evaluation based in part on our students’ performance.

Our purpose is to ensure that our students are successful in school and life. However, we object to the thought that students’ performance on a single test alone is a valid measure of what they have learned or how well we have taught them. As teachers, we are more worried about the impact of standardized testing on our students than on ourselves. Therefore, an honest look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of standardized testing debate is necessary. The Good Standardized testing provides a standards-based way of assessing students and teachers. The Bad Standardized tests used in isolation are not the best evidence of performance.

The Ugly School-wide test scores Test scores. The Great Testing Debate: Making the Grade - Programs. Tests today are not like the tests most parents took when they were in school. New forms of evaluating students' work are already in use, and even more changes will be coming in the years ahead. The broad term "assessment" has come into common use to describe these new ways of measuring students' accomplishments. Tests and assessments perform several vital roles in the education process. They are used most frequently to help students, teachers, schools, and parents know what students have learned and what they still need to study. Teachers can use information from assessments to design lessons that meet the needs of their students. School districts and states use assessment results to evaluate whether they are meeting their goals. Parents should educate themselves about the tests and other assessments that are used in evaluating their children's progress.

Performance assessments Portfolios are one type of performance assessment that is becoming increasingly popular in schools. Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing. Standardized Testing Is Hurting American Schools. Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk, Conn., was just one of thousands of American public schools classified as failing during the 2010-2011 school year, according to standardized test scores. In "Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America's 45,000* Failing Public Schools," Ron Berler, a journalist who has written for The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, documents the year he spent observing students and educators at Brookside as they struggled to meet the demands of No Child Left Behind. Berler recently spoke to U.S. News about what he sees as problems with standardized testing, the lack of school readiness in the youngest students, and the role he says parents should play in their children's academic success. Excerpts: What does it mean that 45,000 schools are failing?

That's a scary number. [Check out U.S. Is testing a fair measure of a school's quality? What is the effect of excessive testing on elementary-school curriculums? What is the role of parents in early education? Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing. You hear a lot nowadays about the magic of big data. Getting hold of the right numbers can increase revenue, improve decision-making, or help you find a mate—or so the thinking goes. In 2009, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a crowd of education researchers: “I am a deep believer in the power of data to drive our decisions.

Data gives us the roadmap to reform. This is a story about what happened when I tried to use big data to help repair my local public schools. A few years ago, I started having trouble helping my son with his first-grade homework. “I need to write down natural resources,” he told me. “Air, water, oil, gas, coal,” I replied. “I already put down air and water,” he said. “Of course they are,” I said. “But they weren’t on the list the teacher gave in class.” I knew my son would start taking standardized tests in third grade. In essence, I tried to game the third-grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), the standardized test for my state.

“We don’t.” Parents' Guide | Testing Our Schools. About Standardized Tests Standardized tests are created by different groups and organizations, including the Educational Testing Service, the College Board, testing companies, and textbook publishers. These companies hire testing experts, called psychometricians, to do extensive research and piloting to develop questions to include on tests. Not all standardized tests measure the same knowledge and skills.

Some are designed to predict student performance, while others are designed to measure a student's knowledge as compared to peers across the country. Some tests, such as the Stanford Achievement Test, are developed for general use by any school district in the country, while other tests are developed for a specific state, such as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), and the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). These latter types of tests are designed to measure students' knowledge of content and skills in relation to state standards. How Tests Are Scored. Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality. W. James Popham A standardized test is any examination that's administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. There are two major kinds of standardized tests: aptitude tests and achievement tests.

Standardized aptitude tests predict how well students are likely to perform in some subsequent educational setting. But standardized achievement-test scores are what citizens and school board members rely on when they evaluate a school's effectiveness. A Standardized Test's Assessment Mission The folks who create standardized achievement tests are terrifically talented. Such relative inferences about a student's status with respect to the mastery of knowledge and/or skills in a particular subject area can be quite informative to parents and educators.

But there's an enormous amount of knowledge and/or skills that children at any grade level are likely to know. Accurate Differentiation As a Deity Measuring Temperature with a Tablespoon Testing-Teaching Mismatches Confounded Causation. Standardized Tests -