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TeacherLore

Lowering standards through low-quality testing

Michael Winerip writing in the New York Times:

Last year, Connecticut filed suit against the federal Department of Education, contending that federal officials had failed to pay the cost of all the tests required by No Child Left Behind. While the suit got much news media play, many of the underlying testing issues were missed.

Connecticut wants to maintain its state tests, which feature many essay questions and problems that require students to explain their work. The state maintains that to administer these tests every year from third to eighth grade, as the federal law requires, will cost $8 million more than federal financing provides.

In a May 3, 2005, letter, the federal education secretary, Margaret Spellings, said that while Connecticut’s tests “are instructionally sound, they go beyond what was contemplated by N.C.L.B.” Federal officials suggested that Connecticut switch to multiple-choice tests and eliminate writing tests to cut costs.

For many, the Connecticut lawsuit is a pivotal moment. Will the law’s testing demands raise national education standards or lower them?

I hope when the tangle over who should pay is settled, the people of Connecticut still use quality measures.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 03/29 at 09:28 PM

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