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Congressional Agency Assesses Testing Programs in All States

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Washington--The Office of Technology Assessment has published what agency officials say is the first guide analyzing student-testing programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Although no comparable earlier studies exist, according to an official of the Congressional agency, the analysis indicates that there is "a lot more testing going on."

"There was not this much testing five years ago," said Nancy C. Naismith, program manager for the ota's science, education, and transportation program.

The study, based on a survey conducted in 1985 by the Northwest Regional Laboratory, found that 38 states had statewide assessment programs.

Of these states, it found, six had authorized new examinations between 1983 and 1985, and another 19 had introduced major changes in their programs during that period.

There is little uniformity among states on which subjects and grade levels are tested, the study found, and most states reported multiple uses for the results.

In addition, states reported using a variety of methods to report test data.

To provide a more detailed view of how testing programs have grown within states, the study also includes "snapshots" from eight states.

These descriptions "give a flavor of the many ideas and circumstances at work in different states, and the various approaches states have adopted," the report says.

Single copies of the study, "State Educational Testing Practices," can be obtained without charge by writing the Science, Education, and Transportation Program, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C. 20510.--rr

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