Coalition for Quality Education
Good schools employ multiple measures of student learning to obtain useful information for local decisions, reflecting the best current knowledge about effective teaching and learning. The Coalition for Quality Education, a group of successful urban, suburban, and rural schools, opposes inflexible state and federal plans that rely on standardized high-stakes tests and undermine effective teaching and local authority.
A reasonable state or federal assessment plan would:
- limit non-local assessments to reading and math
- avoid high stakes consequences for any one test or type of test
- use multiple forms of assessment, including performance assessment and would be reviewed by independent boards that include experts in multiple forms of assessment
- allow autonomy for schools that have demonstrated their quality or possess special promise
- permit local opt-out of non-local tests with Board approval
- provide regular, independent evaluations of the quality, results and effects of non-local test programs
What's the Problem?
One-size-fits-all state or federal tests (especially if they have high-stakes consequences:)
- lead to teaching that focuses narrowly on test prepping
- increase dropouts
- drive out quality teachers
- water down standards in an effort to prevent dropouts
- ineffectively measure what kids know and can do
What's the Solution?
Many paths lead to excellence. Students succeed when:
- they are engaged by in-depth curricula that include interdisciplinary and other innovative approaches
- their teachers can adjust curriculum to emerging events and respond to their particular needs
- they have multiple opportunities to show what they know
- assessments provide teachers with valuable feedback to improve curriculum and teaching
The strengths of America is its ability to unleash the individual initiative essential to excellence. Government regulates only where necessary and encourages independence and enterprise. In this spirit, to be most effective, local schools must be accountable for their efforts but must also be able to work and to demonstrate their quality in different ways.