ATPE’s position on standardized testing

The issue

Controversy surrounding the use of standardized tests is centered on the need to hold Texas public schools accountable to the taxpayers who fund them. The state’s method for doing so is to rate schools based on several factors, but largely on student standardized test scores. Schools rated poorly can face stiff sanctions from the state, including the loss of funding, re-staffing and even closure. Student test performance is increasingly being used as a component in educator evaluation and compensation, putting an even greater emphasis on the tests.

With so much at stake, the focus on testing has led the Texas accountability and assessment system to become what former education commissioner Robert Scott once called a “perversion” of its original intent. Many people believe the enormous pressure put on teachers and students to perform well on the tests forces many schools to “teach to the test,” a practice of teaching students how to take tests rather than truly learning the subject matter. Excessive paperwork and practice testing eat up even more valuable classroom time and further erode the learning experience. Various changes in testing structure and standards have required huge state expenditures to companies that develop the tests. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Backlash against state and federal testing requirements led to the passage of House Bill 5 in 2013. Among other things, the bill reduced the number of tests in the post-secondary grades from 15 required tests to five required and two optional tests. House Bill 5 had very limited effect on testing in grades 3-8 because of federal mandates in those grades. Federal law only requires one exit-level test after grade 8. 

ATPE’s position on testing

The ATPE Legislative Program calls for a testing and accountability system to be developed with educator input that maximizes student learning and helps educators meet the individual needs of students. ATPE opposes the use of high-stakes tests as the sole measure of student achievement. View additional testing-related recommendations in the ATPE Legislative Program.

Questions? Send us a message or call the ATPE state office at (800) 777-2873.

This is legislative advertising contracted for by Dr. Shannon J. Holmes, Executive Director, Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Dr., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78752-3792, representing ATPE.