"Enacted in 2002, NCLB seeks to improve schools by making them more accountable for student performance on standardized tests. Schools that fail to meet performance standards become subject to increasingly stringent penalties. Connecticut, which tests students in grades 4, 6, 8 and 10, has embraced the “goals and intent” of NCLB, Taylor has said. But the state board and Sternberg have criticized NCLB testing policies, especially regarding students who don't yet speak English and special education students.
The state has also sought exemption from a requirement next year to test all students in grades 3 through 8 and 10, saying this will add costs without producing results. Connecticut would like to pioneer “formative assessments,” frequent tests that can be quickly adapted to classroom instruction. Sternberg said the federal government has not shown research to prove that annual testing makes a difference, while Connecticut can support its belief in formative testing.
In her letter to Sternberg Wednesday, Spellings restated her refusal to grant a testing exemption. But she said she was willing to consider some of Connecticut's other recommendations, including that the federal government base designations on “cohort analysis” that follows a single group of students through school instead of the “snapshots” of individual classes now used.
Spellings also recommended ways that Connecticut could either shift funding or get access to more money for NCLB. She said some of Connecticut's financial hardship is because the state's testing requirements go beyond what is required by NCLB.
Sternberg said this was “problematic.”
“There is a perception that we're doing the Cadillac model of testing instead of the Chevy,” she said. “We have important, reasonable, challenging tests. The federal government seems to be saying, ‘Don't do that, lower your standards to meet the standards of the law.” "
Did you get that part? "Connecticut would like to pioneer “formative assessments,” frequent tests that can be quickly adapted to classroom instruction." unlike most of the norm referenced tests that are currently used that are of little or no use in the classroom. And did you get this part? “We have important, reasonable, challenging tests. The federal government seems to be saying, ‘Don't do that, lower your standards to meet the standards of the law.”
Connecticut is actually doing a better job of accessing and following their kids than the law requires but to meet the letter of the law the feds want them to either do more or forget their tests, that might actually accomplish something, and follow the feds testing procedures which do nothing more than collect data and punish those that do not make the grade!
I know there are some of you out there that still support NCLB, but admit it, aren't you starting to get just the littlest twinge of doubt?