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Groups Call for Better Ways to Assess Student Progress

Groups Call for Better Ways to Assess Student Progress

Nearly two dozen major civil rights and disability advocacy groups are calling on Congress to include "multiple forms of assessment" and "multiple measures or indicators of student progress" in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Congress is considering reauthorization of the law, with the House Education Committee expected to act in September. Action by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions would follow.

In the Aug. 7 letter delivered to members of both committees, the groups wrote, "If education is to improve in the United States, schools must be assessed in ways that produce high-quality learning and that create incentives to keep students in school."

The call for multiple measures was supported by a letter sent Aug. 2 to the House and Senate education committee leaders by an "expert panel on assessment" convened by the Forum on Education Accountability (FEA).

The panel's members wrote:

The use of multiple measures and sources of evidence accords with the principles espoused in the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement's Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing; as well as the reports on assessment issued by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, including High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation.

The civil rights and disability advocacy groups supporting multiple measures include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE), ASPIRA Association, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Alliance for Bilingual Education, National Urban Alliance, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Civil Rights Project, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Indian School Board Association and ACORN.

The groups' letter continued, "A number of studies have found that an exclusive emphasis on (primarily multiple-choice) standardized test scores has narrowed the curriculum. An unintended consequence has been to create incentives for schools to boost scores by keeping or pushing low-scoring students out of school. Push-out incentives and the narrowed curriculum are especially severe for special needs students, English language learners, and students without strong family supports."


RELATED LINKS

  • Forum on Education Accountability
  • anc_dyn_linksLetter on Multiple Measures from the Expert Panel on Assessment Convened by the Forum on Educational Accountability
  • FEA News Release About the Letter