Friday, March 02, 2007

Real Tests for Real Children

It feels good to finally be able to write these words: "Kudos to the NY Times editorial page" on a matter relating to education!
Real Tests for Real Children
Published: February 25, 2007

The No Child Left Behind Act required the states to raise educational standards and test student performance, in exchange for federal aid. But things have not worked as Congress planned. Instead of moving toward the educational excellence that the country needs to compete in the global economy, many states opted for dumbed-down tests and deliberate sleight of hand to create the fraudulent appearance of progress.

As a result, states that perform well with their own watered-down exams do shockingly poorly when their students take the far more rigorous federal test known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. A report this month by the bipartisan Commission on No Child Left Behind highlights this problem and calls for the development of more rigorous tests and national standards in reading, language arts, math and science.

States would then be offered the options of embracing the national standards and tests, building new ones based on the national model or keeping their existing standards and tests. States that chose not to embrace the national standards would have to submit their tests and standards to federal evaluation — to see how they compare to the national model — and the results would be reported to parents and the general public.

This proposal, which would have been shot down in previous years, is finding a great deal of sympathy in Congress. That is good news, given the work that has to be done to ensure that all of America’s children can compete in the world.

 Subscribe in a reader