To Test—or Not to Test—in Science? Lawmakers to Debate Measure

By Erik W. Robelen — February 27, 2012 1 min read
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Should the federal government continue to require states to test students in science? That’s one of the items on the agenda tomorrow as the House Education and the Workforce Committee takes up legislation to revamp the No Child Left Behind Act.

A Republican bill put forward by the chairman of the House education panel would end the science-testing requirement (but keep mandatory exams in reading and math). The action upset some STEM education advocates, who have been pressing lawmakers to retain science testing, which NCLB requires three times before graduation.

Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, also a Republican, is expected tomorrow to propose an amendment to save the science-testing mandate, my colleague Alyson Klein reports over at Politics K-12.

“Eliminating science testing sends an untimely message on national priorities at the very moment when we most need to educate our children to compete in these fields,” Hanna said in a statement. “If we are to produce students who are able to succeed in an increasingly global society, we cannot ignore the educational and economic benefits of science education.”

(I will say that the language on “national priorities” echoes language in a letter to lawmakers penned by the STEM Education Coalition.)

To be clear, the federal law does not require states to make accountability judgments for schools based on science testing.

As Politics K-12 explains, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, proposed ending the science requirement to ease the testing burden on schools.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens during tomorrow’s debate.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.