Writing in The Hechinger Report, Indianapolis high school English teacher Christina Lear adds her voice to the growing chorus of educators speaking out against what they see as extraneous and unreliable benchmarking assessments. Lear, a Teach For America alum, stresses that she is a “teacher who believes deeply in data” and is not opposed to standardized testing. But she has come to believe that teachers have a professional obligation to voice opposition to tests that aren’t well-aligned to their instructional goals:
While I have hope that the new Common Core assessments will provide us more reliable data on our students' learning, particularly on higher-level cognitive skills, I also know that we teachers must be critical of the assessments to which we devote precious instructional time. It is our professional responsibility to know what mastering the state standards looks like and to speak up when tests do not accurately measure those skills.
One obvious question is: Why are districts using tests that—if both Lear and the Seattle teachers are to be believed—aren’t well-aligned to the material that teachers are supposed to be covering? Is it simply a matter of interpretation? Or are they trying to measure something other than the standards?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.