Let’s Take Time to Rethink Next-Generation Accountability

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In a statement released today, ASCD calls on policymakers to institute a two-year moratorium on using new state standardized assessments for accountability purposes. We believe, as educators know and understand, that high-stakes decisions about student readiness, teacher performance, and school quality should never be based on a single assessment. You can read the full statement at www.ascd.org/moratorium.

Since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, standardized test results have been the dominant measure of student achievement and school quality. This has thrown our education system out of balance and a pause is needed to reexamine the role of state standardized testing and develop accountability systems that incorporate multiple measures and provide actionable information.

This doesn’t mean we’re advocating that testing goes away. Quite the opposite, in fact: A two-year break from the high stakes attached to the tests will still allow states to administer the assessments and share the results with districts, schools, and families. But it will provide schools with adequate time to thoughtfully consider and address student performance without the threat of punitive sanctions.

Over testing, an overemphasis on test preparation, and a shift away subjects such as the arts, civics, and social and emotional skills are all among the undesirable, albeit unintended, consequences of the current accountability model. In order to be great, our education system must focus on the whole child and make sure each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Committing to a true whole child education does not mean testing is not part of the equation, but a reliance on high-stakes standardized tests as the sole measure of student, teacher, and school evaluation is certainly antithetical to supporting the whole child. We need to work on a new system that better indicates when students are college-, career-, and citizenship-ready.

We want to hear from each one of you and encourage you to participate in the ASCD Forum on next-generation accountability systems. The ASCD Forum will take place from now through April 15 and we want the educator voice to determine how systems can more fully and accurately support long-term student success. There are three ways to join:

Over the course of the 2015 ASCD Forum, five specific themes will guide the discussion, including: multiple measures of accountability; student, family, and community engagement; and accountability for continuous improvement.

We look forward to hearing your perspectives through the ASCD Forum and we’re prepared to keep working on behalf of each of you, and each of your students, to advocate for a whole child education and multimetric accountability systems that truly measure the success of our schools.

 

 

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