Group Urges ‘Hitting the Brakes’ on National Test

January 29, 1992 4 min read

A group of four dozen prominent educators and scholars last week issued a statement aimed at “hitting the brakes” on the drive to create a national test.

Written before the report of the National Council on Education Standards and Testing was released, the statement says that the signers agree that “dramatically higher educational standards are needed for American schools.”

However, it states, “we believe that the pursuit of such standards does not require--and could be severely compromised by--a [single] national examination.”

The primary purpose of assessments, the statement argues, should be to improve teaching and learning, not to assign rewards or sanctions for schools. Local educators, it adds, must participate in developing assessments that reflect their needs.

One signer of the statement, Marshall S. Smith, the dean of the graduate school of education at Stanford University, who is also a member of the council on standards and testing, said he saw “remarkable agreement” between the statement and the council’s report.

In addition to Mr. Smith, the signers of the statement are:

Gregory R. Anrig, president, Educational Testing Service; Sue E. Berryman, director, Institute on Education and the Economy, Teachers College, Columbia University; Julius Chambers, director counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; David K. Cohen, John A. Hannah Professor of Education, Michigan State University; James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry,

Yale University; Eric Cooper, executive director, National Urban Alliance for Effective Education; Larry Cuban, professor of education, Stanford University; Linda Darling-Hammond, co-director, National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University; Ramona Edelin, president, National Urban Coalition; Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children’s Defense Fund; Elliot Eisner, president elect, American Educational Research Association; Michelle Fine, Goldie Anna Professor of Psychology in Education, University of Pennsylvania; Howard Gardner, co-director, Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Keith Geiger, president, National Education Association.

Also, John Goodlad, director, Center for Educational Renewal, University of Washington; Edmund Gordon, emeritus professor, Yale University; Gary A. Griffm, professor of education, University of Arizona; Walt Haney, senior research associate, Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy, Boston College; George H. Hanford, president emeritus, the College Board; Delwyn Harnisch, associate professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Harold Howe 2nd, senior lecturer emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Philip W. Jackson, professor of education and psychology, University of Chicago; Richard Jaeger, professor of educational research methodology, and director, Center for Educational Research and Evaluation, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Sylvia Johnson, acting editor-in-chief, Journal of Negro Education.

Also, Judith Lanier, dean, Michigan State University College of Education, and president, the Holmes Group; Ann Lieberman, co-director, National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia

University, and president, American Educational Research Association; Shirley McBay, president, Quality Education for Minorities; Milbrey McLaughin, professor of education and director, National Center on Secondary School Context, Stanford University; Deborah Meier, president, Center for Collaborative Education, and director, Central Park East Secondary School, New York City; Joe Nathan, director, Center for School Change; Jeannie Oakes, professor, University of California at Los Angeles; Vito Perrone, director, Teacher Education Programs, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Robert Peterkin, Harvard Urban Superintendents Program and National Urban Alliance; Barbara Plake, president, National Council for Measurement in Education, and professor of psychology and measurement, University of Nebraska; Philip C. Schlechty, president, Center on Leadership and School Reform, Louisville, Ky.; Donna Shalala, chancellor, University of Wisconsin; Richard J. Shavelson, dean and professor, University of California at Santa Barbara; Lorrie A. Shepard, professor of education, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Also, Lee Shulman, professor of education, Stanford University, and president, National Academy of Education; Theodore R. Sizer, chairman, Coalition of Essential Schools; Robert Stake, professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Donaid M. Stewart, president, the College Beard; Gary Sykes, associate professor, college of education, Michigan State University; Michael Webb, director of education and career development, National Urban League; Grant Wiggins, director of programs and research, Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure; Eliot Wigginton, Foxfire Network, Rabun Gap, Ga.; Arthur Wise, president, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.Ny--R.R.

A version of this article appeared in the January 29, 1992 edition of Education Week as Group Urges ‘Hitting the Brakes’ on National Test