Press Release

WASHINGTON (October 15, 2014) — The Education Trust is pleased to voice its support for a joint statement released by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Council of the Great City Schools that reaffirms their commitment to high-quality annual assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards. The organizations also called for greater utility and transparency, and an end to redundant assessments and those that offer little value to students, parents, or teachers.

As fierce advocates for the high academic achievement of all students, particularly those of color or living in poverty, we at The Education Trust understand the importance of fair, reliable, high-quality assessments aligned to meaningful standards. We believe equity in education can only be assured through benchmarks that measure achievement for all students.

However, we acknowledge that while assessments are critically important, too many students are taking low-quality, redundant, and unnecessary tests. States, districts, and schools need to act to stop this practice, and the state chiefs and district superintendents must be applauded for taking leadership on this important issue.

But as states and districts work to clear out unhelpful, unnecessary tests, it would be a grave mistake to stop annual statewide standardized assessments. Parents deserve to know how their students are performing and whether there are areas for improvement. Most important, they deserve to know how their children are performing when compared to their peers; it is incredibly hard to close achievement gaps if we can’t even measure the size of the gaps. Particularly among populations that have been traditionally underserved in public education, data is very important, and parents need this information every year.

Indeed, according to recent polling, 85 percent of Latino parents and 82 percent of African American parents think it is very important or extremely important to regularly assess whether or not children are meeting statewide expectations. Many are well aware that their children aren’t attending schools that are serving their students well enough. For parents armed with the suspicion that grades aren’t always the best indicator of academic preparedness, standardized assessments can give a fuller picture of how their children compare to other students at the same grade level.

Educators, parents, and policymakers rely upon these assessments to obtain comparable information that’s critical to identifying and addressing achievement gaps. Ed Trust stands with CCSSO and CGCS on the importance of doing assessments well. We should all be focused on ensuring a high-quality, coherent, and meaningful assessment system that generates the kind of information we need to help close gaps and raise achievement for all.