Standardized Testing

In 2014-2015 school year, the PARCC test was administered for the first time as the state assessment.  The test was field tested in the prior school year but this was the first school year it was used as the official state assessment.

The Rhode Island Department of Education issued this PARCC_testing_window_2015-2016 in August 2015.

High Stakes Testing

While it is widely accepted by researchers and professionals that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness, political agendas have trumped facts, logic and student well being in the name of accountability.

We will continue to cite the evidence from experts and professionals on this issue in hopes that parents, educators, community leaders and eventually political leaders will recognize that the misuse of standardized testing, which is the basis for most of the current corporate standards based education reform policies, is a deeply flawed policy that harms the very students it purports to help.

We would like to acknowledge the state of Vermont for taking a very logical and meaningful position on this issue in hopes that Rhode Island will one day soon, follow suit.

As Linda Darling-Hammond testified in 2014, the preponderance of research indicates that test-based requirements for graduation do not generally improve achievement, but do increase dropout rates.  In 2011, the National Research Council reviewed the existing research on high school exit exam programs and came to this conclusion: The evidence we have reviewed suggests that high school exit exam programs, as currently implemented in the United States, decrease the rate of high school graduation without increasing achievement.

Ron Wolk, President of Editorial Projects in Education and developer of Education Week newspaper, states: “Despite hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours spent on standards and testing over the past 25 years, student achievement has not significantly improved, and the gap that separates needy and minority students from more affluent white students persists. Nationally, more than a quarter of students drop out of school, and more than half  of those who graduate are ill prepared either for college or work. More than half of those who enroll in college drop out without getting a degree within six years.”

Parents Across Rhode Island agrees with Lisa Guisbond: “While standardized exams have their purpose, they have mistakenly become the centerpiece of school reform, with dire consequences for our students and schools. We agree with the former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor Robert Reich, who said recently, “We’re turning our schools into test-taking factories. We’re teaching children how to take standardized tests rather than how to think.”

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