The Truth About Testing Costs
As the nation endures its sputtering recovery, significant cuts to state and local education budgets continue to dominate headlines. With bruising fights over tenure, pensions, and collective bargaining, educators fear that these cuts may shrink educator jobs and benefits for years to come.
Within this context, though, it is testing that has emerged as the real villain. In protest blogs, op-eds, and tweets, critics rail against “billions and billions” spent on assessment, arguing that if only we stopped testing, teachers’ jobs, art classes, sports, school nurses, librarians, small classes, and more would be saved.
But while testing can’t solve our educational problems, all this vitriol obscures another important reality: Testing consumes just a tiny portion of education budgets. While states vary considerably in the amount, type, and quality of their testing programs, no state comes even close to spending 1 percent of total per-pupil expenditures on testing. A 2010 study by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, or SCOPE, which is led by the respected professor Linda Darling-Hammond, noted that in per-pupil terms, testing costs “substantially less than that of a new textbook, a typical student’s school supplies for the year, or almost any educational intervention.” A random sample of states, small and...
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- K-12 Teachers
- The International Educator, Multiple Locations
- Perspectives Charter Schools, Chicago, IL
- Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
- Lake Forest School District 67 & 115, Lake Forest, IL
- Princeton Public School District, Princeton, NJ
- Director of School Support
- The Achievement Network, Multiple Locations