Stanford University and the American Federation of Teachers have joined hands to do battle with accountability. They propose that educational policy should shift from "test and punish" to "support and improve".
It is ironic that twenty years ago this summer, and with three school divisions leading, Virginia was engaged in creating standards that would carry the weight of high stakes testing. The balance to be found was between a mission of "moving towards, meeting and exceeding expectations" and a "super bowl-like" annual assessment event that would sort winners and losers.
Improvement is the gauge, but proficiency is the goal. It is not acceptable to say that a student is not as poorly skilled as he was last year. While it is impractical to believe that every student can be successful in every area, it is also unprofessional to hide behind the "we have done all we can do" protective shield.
While the "too much testing" mantra rages across America, let's be careful to address the form and frequency of assessment while preserving the notion that students and schools need to be accountable for what they are doing …and for how well they do it!