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Articles: Testing

The Whole Schools Initiative's arts program is helping drive up test scores in Mississippi schools.

The arts are driving up test scores and closing achievement gaps in more than 30 Mississippi schools that are blending music, theater, visual art and dance into core subjects.

The first day of practice testing at Greer Elementary School in the San Juan USD in California in March.

Field testing for the Common Core assessments wrapped up in June, with districts in 36 states reporting mostly successful first runs despite some challenges around technology, test questions and scheduling.

Anya Kamenetz's upcoming book, "The Test," examines the history, impact and future of educational assessment.

High-stakes testing in K12 schools has had a chilling effect on how students are taught and what they learn. The number of school closings due to poor test results has nearly doubled annually, from about 1,100 to 1,900, notes journalist Anya Kamenetz.

Elementary students in Metropolitan School District in Indiana use Chromebooks for lessons and assessments.

At least one midwestern district is ready—or at least thinks it’s ready—for what most states are calling Common Core assessments. The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Ind., an urban district in Indianapolis, had a jumpstart on technology and assessments thanks in part to a three-year, $28.5 million Race to the Top grant.

The redesigned SAT, set for spring 2016, will measure college and career skills.

Administrators in coming years may feel less stressed about adding SAT prep to students’ regular coursework. The newly redesigned SAT, which students will start taking in spring 2016, will be more in line with the Common Core standards being rolled out in schools nationwide.

Once again, the United States has landed in the middle of the pack on an international assessment, leading education experts to question what top-performing nations are doing that our schools are not.

The results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were “encouraging but modest,” according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Eighth graders made small gains in reading and mathematics, while fourth graders improved slightly in math but not reading.

Diane Ravitch, once a top supporter of testing and school choice, is now leading the fight against those policies.

Diane Ravitch is outspoken in her criticisms of education in this country. Her latest book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf, 2013), pulls no punches in its arguments against testing, the charter school movement, and federally driven mandates.

Arriving at Rensselaer Central Schools Corporation in Indiana as assistant superintendent in July, 2012, after four years with the Indiana Department of Education, one of my first tasks was to develop a plan for our administrators to better comply with the state’s new teacher evaluation law.

I recently listened to a call-in show on a local National Public Radio station. The head of the state’s board of education was interviewed about the recent standardized test scores in her state. Two teachers called in. Here’s my takeaway from the conversation (somewhat out of context, but the words are accurate):

More than half of the high school graduates who took the SAT were not prepared for college courses, the College Board says in a new report. Only 43 percent of test takers met the SAT’s college-readiness benchmark score of 1550, according to the report. 

The country’s obsession with high-stakes testing is an expensive, destructive failure. Students who can least afford it pay the biggest price.

The substantial number of high school graduates who land in higher education unprepared academically and have to take remedial courses to catch up are more likely than other students to quit before earning a two- or four-year diploma. Now, districts in several states are intervening more aggressively than in the past to better prepare struggling high school students for college-level classes.

Most students who took the ACT risk falling behind in college and lack the skills necessary to join the modern workforce, according to a report from the company that offers the test. Meanwhile, 31 percent of students tested did not meet any of the assessment’s college benchmarks, which the report says demonstrates the need for a more rigorous curriculum in U.S. schools.

Almost two out of three Americans have never heard of the Common Core State Standards, and those who have understand little about them, a new poll finds.