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NCLB Rewrite Could Provide Funding for States to Audit Standardized Tests

NCLB Rewrite Could Provide Funding for States to Audit Standardized Tests

Now that both the Senate and House have passed their own versions of a No Child Left Behind rewrite, they must work together to develop one comprehensive piece of legislation for presidential approval.

In the meantime, many questions are being raised concerning just what the new legislation could mean for the future of standardized testing in America's classrooms.

NPR took a look at several amendments focused on standardized testing added to the Senate's version of the bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, that are likely to receive presidential approval should they remain in the final legislation.

The first amendment, and the one with the potential to have the biggest impact on standardized testing, is the SMART (Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely) Act.

NPR reported last year that "the vast majority of standardized tests that students are taking in school are mandated by states and districts, not federal law."

For this reason, the Senate legislation aims to tackle the testing programs on a state-to-state basis. The SMART act, introduced by Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Michael Bennet of Colorado, would provide funding to states in order to properly audit the current state of the testing programs in place.

The audit, according to NPR, would have to result in answers to questions about cost of the tests, average time of taking the tests and delivering the results, the relevance and "value" of administered tests, and how accessible they are to students with special needs and disabilities.

After the results are delivered and analyzed, states would be provided with additional funding to design a better test based on the findings.

"Various groups, including the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, have been trying to encourage states and districts to review and cut back on tests; the SMART Act would put funds behind that idea. It's been acclaimed by data and accountability-focused groups like the Education Trust and Teach Plus," NPR said.

Other amendments concerned with standardized testing included legislation from Senator Michael Bennet that would put a cap on the instructional time spent on federal, state, or local standardized tests as well as would require districts to provide parents with more information on testing.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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