As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), there is no question that assessment has become the hot topic. With Congress looking to amend ESEA — Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) introduced a bipartisan revision of the law, the Every Child Achieves Act, on April 7 — the debate around assessment finds more fuel from all sides. Some people are deliberating over “to test or not to test,” while others focus on how often we test. What we need to turn our attention to is why we are testing. Unfortunately, the ESEA amendment addresses how often, but it ignores the why — and this will become an injustice to our students.
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