Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Just Another Testing Boondoggle? ‘Fewer, Better’ Strategy Has Flaws

October 22, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Three scholars have recommended testing students only every few years and using “higher-quality assessments that encourage more productive teaching” rather than current multiple-choice tests (“Note to Congress: Fewer, Better Tests Can Boost Student Achievement,” Oct. 9, 2013). In their Commentary, Marc Tucker, Linda Darling-Hammond, and John Jackson note that these tests can be used without spending more money than we are spending now on testing. Phrased another way, they are saying that the new tests will cost just as much as we are spending now, which is a lot, and that the cost will continue to grow.

We will still be spending millions on tests, and billions more to administer them online, with costs increasing as equipment is replaced and technology “advances.”

The bottom line is that the situation will remain the same: a huge bleeding of funds, all going to the testing and computer companies.

But this time it will be more appealing to the public because the tests are supposedly better and students don’t have to take them as often.

Before doing any of this, it has to be shown that it is necessary to test every student. We already have the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, given to samples of students and considered the assessment gold standard. And if the case is made that we need to test every student, it must be shown that the new tests are indeed higher-quality, through careful testing on small groups. They must be shown to have predictive validity, that they lead to greater and longer-lasting academic achievement.

This is hard to do when your goal is to make a quick buck.

Stephen Krashen

Professor Emeritus of Education

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, Calif.

A version of this letter appeared in the online comments section on edweek.org.

A version of this article appeared in the October 09, 2013 edition of Education Week as Just Another Testing Boondoggle? ‘Fewer, Better’ Strategy Has Flaws

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)