Learning is more than a test score

In response to the ever-increasing emphasis on high-stakes testing and the negative impact this is having on authentic teaching and learning, The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has launched a new campaign, “Learning is More Than a Test Score”. This campaign combines collaborative planning opportunities, ideas for activism and a website for sharing research, testimonials and news.

From the website:

Since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, we’ve seen a growing fixation on high-stakes testing as a central piece of the effort to improve schools. Unfortunately, the result has been exactly the opposite. The low-level, high-stakes tests that now hang over our teachers and students—and their extreme misuse as a result of ideologically and politically driven education policy—have seriously damaged our public education system.

Appropriate assessments are an integral part of a high-quality education system. But an accountability system obsessed with measuring, which punishes teachers and schools, comes at a huge cost. Vital parts of the curriculum—arts, music and physical education, to name a few—are being shortchanged or abandoned because they are not subject to testing. Teachers have been forced to spend too much time on test preparation and data collection, at the expense of more engaging instruction. As a result, our students aren’t getting the opportunities they need to learn how to think critically and creatively, which is essential to a 21st-century education.

One action step is to sign AFT’s public petition which begins, “I believe the growing fixation on high-stakes testing is damaging our public education system. It’s time to make sure that teaching and learning—not testing—drive classroom instruction so that we can give all children the rich, meaningful public education they deserve…”

Here at DEY, we urge you to sign the petition and spread the word to colleagues, parents and community members.