- U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan reiterated Monday that the Obama administration is keeping annual standardized testing among its priorities as Congress prepares to reauthorize No Child Left Behind.
- Mandatory standardized testing in math and reading for students in the third through eighth grades, and an additional time in high school, is part of the original Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, but Republicans have indicated that they may do away with that in their revisions.
- The National Education Association, along with parents and educators, has called for such testing to end, and even Duncan has previously delayed the use of test scores in teacher evaluations.
In a speech set for Monday, Duncan was expected to say that “parents, teachers and students have both the right and the need to know how much progress all students are making each year towards college- and career-readiness," according to The New York Times.
Among the issues with standardized testing practices are the tendency for teachers to teach to the test, which has been argued to promote rote memorization over actual learning, and the notion of tying students' test scores to teacher evaluations. That practice, particularly in an environment where new and unfamiliar standards are being simultaneously pushed out, potentially creates a stressful environment where some may feel the need to cheat.
Needless to say, these are just the early volleys in what is likely to be an ongoing education battle between the Obama administration and the new Republican Congressional majority for the next few years.