Who are tests bad for?

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the December 2013 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: December 2013 Leaflet


New Action opposes the Teacher Evaluation System, largely due to rating teachers based on student test scores. But we should object to tests for reasons beyond the bad APPR.

Every extra day of testing squeezes out another day of teaching. Every high stakes test, especially in this era of punitive accountability, leads many schools to increase the number of days of test prep. Each prep day squeezes out another day of real teaching. The test burden on principals has led many to eliminate foreign language and art. Recess is getting short-changed. In many schools, Science and Social Studies get repurposed to ELA and Mathematics prep in non-testing years. This is horrible for kids and schools.

Teachers are more and more forced to teach not “to the test” but “to the tests” in a dizzying flurry of diagnostics, pre-tests, and State tests. Trained professionals are being asked, nay, forced to teach what accountability requires, not what the children need.

And let’s not forget, tests make kids sick. In October of this year, the Delegate Assembly approved the following language as part of a resolution on standardized testing:

“the current intensity of the standardized test taking and test prep affects children emotionally and physically leading to anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, headaches and other physical ailments.”

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