Little Variance Between Congress and Administration on High-Stakes Testing

new graphic and report from Andy Smarick of the Fordham Institute shows similar viewpoints on testing from Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress and the Obama administration. After plotting the key testing provisions along a continuum Smarick concludes the graphic reveals three major lessons: 1. An emerging consensus on the NCLB suite of tests; 2. Not many organizations in favor of fewer assessments and 3. Potential for more metrics to be required in ESEA.

Outside of Congress organizations like ASCD and NEA are asking for bigger changes. ASCD has called for a two-year moratorium to “allow time for policymakers and education leaders to design and implement a new accountability model that more accurately reflects the full range of student learning and school support.” In its ESEA priorities, the NEAwould like more flexibility and local control over testing, a return to “grade-span” testing—once in elementary, once in middle, and once in high school—and the ability for teachers to develop and administer their own assessments.

The conversation has also reached the local level. The New Jersey Education Association has launched a six-week ad campaign ahead of administering the PARCC assessment, highlighting the negative impacts of testing.

The 2015 CIC Development & Delivery for Digital Learners (June 1-3) has a policy and research strand which will include an update on state and federal policy trends. Learn more at

Assessment and Accountability