Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Resolution Requesting a Cost Analysis of Testing and Test Prep

For American Federation of Teachers Convention, 2012
 – A Resolution Requesting a Cost Analysis of Testing and Test Prep

Inspired by New Mexico State Audit of Testing

WHEREAS, the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 increased accountability requirements necessitating an increase in assessments and requirements for disaggregated data; and
WHEREAS, for nearly a decade, implementation of accountability reforms has been a priority for states’ education policymakers; and
WHEREAS, each state has its own process for developing, adopting and implementing standards and assessments, what students are expected to know and be able to do can vary widely from state to state; and
WHEREAS, development of the art and science of pedagogy has encouraged and improved the use of regular classroom assessments to inform instruction; and
WHEREAS, program evaluation often requires the use of regular and timely student assessments, especially for students who are struggling academically and who are receiving intervention or remediation in reading or mathematics; and
WHEREAS, English language learners participate in testing to determine their respective levels of English proficiency; and
WHEREAS, the individual education plans of students with disabilities include monitoring and frequent assessment; and
WHEREAS, research indicates the need for increasing instructional time, particularly for low-performing students; and
WHEREAS, increasing the number and frequency of assessments has concomitantly decreased instructional time; and
WHEREAS, in the spring of 2009, governors and chief state school officers from across the United States began the Common Core State Standards Initiative to develop a set of shared national standards ensuring that students in each state are held to the same level of expectations as students in the world's highest-performing countries; and
WHEREAS, forty-five states and the District of Columbia’s public education department in 2010 approved Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English language arts,
WHEREAS, efforts are currently under way to develop Common Core State Standards in science and social studies; and
WHEREAS, the transition from many states’ current standards-based assessments to assessments aligned to the common core state standards is scheduled to be implemented in many large urban areas during the 2012-2013 school year and completed everywhere by 2014-2015; and
WHEREAS, assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards are increasingly being used as a percentage of teacher evaluations; and
WHEREAS, many of the aligned evaluations are designed, and distributed by testing and publishing companies, and not by educators in the classrooms, and
WHEREAS, testing has become a multi-billion dollar industry with a lack of oversight to ensure that student welfare is prioritized over profits;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Federation of Teachers lobby state legislative bodies to mandate an analysis of time and funding of assessments of each state in the Union; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Federation of Teachers provides resources and support for all local affiliates to conduct independent studies of testing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the study determine the following:
A. the number and kinds of tests required by various entities, such as the federal government, state government, district and school or classroom assessments;
B. the per-student cost of assessments;
C. the amount of instructional time spent both on preparing students to take assessments and on the time spent by students taking assessments; and
D. the ways in which the data are used; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that study data be disaggregated into the following groups of students:
A. English language learners;
B. students receiving intervention or remediation services;
C. students with disabilities;
D. general education students;
E. students by ethnicity; and
F. economically disadvantaged students; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the report include a comprehensive audit of campaign contributions by test-publishing companies and other organizations profiting from the testing industry.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislative finance committee and the legislative education study committee report the results of the study to the 2013 legislature and the governor; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the elected heads of all local and state affiliates of our UNION and to other education Union a

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