“Is there too much testing going on in our schools?”
And their conversation essentially answered with a “yes… in some places” and argued for “…a local debate about what makes sense for each community.”
It also highlighted the child-focused, foundational point of testing. Porter-Magee honed in on the value of state-level tests that tell us “whether or not students have mastered the content and skills that the state says they need at each grade level.” She continued:
And, in fact, it was these tests, it was the advent of state-level testing and accountability that allowed us to have the conversations we’re having today about things like the achievement gap. We really saw that our most disadvantaged students were just learning far less. And it was so clear. And the power of the test was really contributing to that conversation.
The discussion reinforced the importance of covering the content of the material during lessons instead of just drilling students on practice test worksheets and test prep “tricks” (aka “teaching to the test”). Local districts also need to balance the importance of accountability against over-testing.
Those conversations are happening locally in many places across the country, as Education Post’s Advisory Network Member Paul Pastorek details on our blog: Smarter, Not More Testing.