Schools should be permitted to use multiple, locally created assessments instead of “one shot” tests to measure student progress for accountability purposes, according to a report released last week by a panel of experts convened by the Forum on Educational Accountability, a group that includes some of the most vocal critics of the 5-year-old No Child Left Behind Act.
Members of the forum include the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, based in Washington, and the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, or FairTest, a longtime critic of high-stakes testing, based in Cambridge, Mass.
The forum’s members unveiled their recommendations in Washington on June 14. They plan to distribute them to members of the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Both panels are charged with leading the reauthorization of the law this year.
The recommendations also call for encouraging states to incorporate a wide range of subjects, not just mathematics and reading, into their accountability systems. But, the forum says, the reauthorized law should ensure that adding subjects will help schools meet accountability goals, not further penalize them.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings sharply criticized the report’s proposals, saying in a statement that they would “turn back the clock to a time when accountability was not a way of life in our schools.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2007 edition of Education Week