October 26, 2015 Testimony from Elizabeth Proepper before the Senate Education Committee
My name is Elizabeth Proepper and I’m an elementary teacher in the Proctor Public schools.
I know our time today is short, so please allow me to summarize the guiding principles behind our recommendations for a new system of assessments.
Please refer to the report for a full explanation of each item. You will also find footnotes and a full appendix of the works cited.
These principles also reflect the shortcomings, and sometimes the outright harm, of maintaining the status quo of the current system of standardized testing.
- First, students deserve a broad curriculum that isn’t narrowed by an overemphasis on preparing for high-stakes tests in reading and math.
- Second, assessment should measure the full scope and depth of student learning, not the just low-order thinking measured by the MCAs.
- Third, students should spend less time learning how to take tests and more time learning the information and skills they will need for successful lives.
- Fourth, students need meaningful feedback. Feedback is only meaningful if students know why they got a question right or wrong.
- Fifth, standardized tests are only valuable if they provide useful, reliable data to educators. It must be free of statistical and technical flaws, and educators must be better trained in data analysis.
- Finally, changes in student test scores are only one measure of teaching. A student’s home life, testing glitches, questions biased against a student’s race, culture or economic background and tests written at a level above a student’s English proficiency are just a few examples of factors that affect test scores.
Those are the guiding principle behind our recommendations. Before my co-author presents those recommendations, I would like to take just one minute to share my own experience with standardized testing.