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Letter to to the Senate HELP Committee on ESEA: Data and Assessments

April 27, 2010

Dear Senator:


The National Education Association, representing 3.2 million educators across the nation, would like to share with you the enclosed materials in advance of tomorrow’s hearing in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on ESEA Reauthorization: Data and Assessments.

Attached for your information and use are:

NEA believes that effective assessment systems accompanied by other resources for the well-being of students are essential to improving education quality.  Unfortunately, current assessment practices are linked to attaining specific scores on highly constrained tests in order to prod states, districts and schools into doing a better job.  Many states use standardized tests that are relatively easy to administer and score but have little connection to what a student learns as part of a high quality education.  They are not designed to promote learning but to rank and rate students, teachers, and schools.  We believe that constructing effective assessment systems will require reexamining the goals of educational assessment and putting aside much of what we have been doing in education assessment. 

We hope the enclosed materials will be useful to you as Congress moves forward on these critical issues.  Thank you for your attention to this important information.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson 
Director of Government Relations