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Testing

Testing takes time from learning. NEA supports less federally-mandated testing to free up time and resources, diminish “teaching to the test,” and allow educators to focus on what is most important: instilling a love of learning in their students. 

The bipartisan Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act (H.R. 452), introduced by Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), would reduce the federal role in testing to the pre-No Child Left Behind status known as “grade-span” testing—once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school.

In addition, NEA believes it is essential to decouple high-stakes testing and accountability.  While we support an annual measure of student learning, we also believe in increased flexibility—for example, allowing school districts to use locally-developed assessments instead of the statewide standardized tests now required by No Child Left Behind.  

The data generated by statewide tests are generally not specific enough to be used “in targeting instruction for individual students. This leaves a clear and essential role for local assessment: developing diagnostic information about what students do well, where they are having difficulty, and how the instructional program might be adjusted to address their specific needs.” (Source: Balancing Local Assessment with Statewide Testing: Building a Program that Meets Student Needs, WestEd, 2001) 

In short, locally-developed assessments provide better and faster feedback that helps drive real improvements in teaching and learning.

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