Behind the Headline: Student Test Scores Depend on Accountability

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Student Test Scores Depend on Accountability
12/27/13 | Washington Post

Behind the Headline
Assessments are Vital for Healthy Schools
Winter 2014 | Education Next

The scores of U.S. students on PISA tests in math and science rose significantly in 2009, but fell in 2012. While identifying what caused the improvements in the 2000s is complicated, Margaret Spellings notes in an op-ed in the Washington Post that the gains coincided with states adopting rigorous accountability policies. “Sadly, federal policymakers have loosened standards since 2009,” she writes. She concludes,”Student gains have stalled just as policymakers have scaled back the key policies that had begun to lift student achievement. Accountability works. We either keep the policies that drive improvement in student achievement or there will be further losses ahead.”

Spellings, who was U.S. Secretary of Education from 2005 to 2009, defends the role of accountability and testing in the Winter 2014 issue of Education Next. The issue features a debate between Spellings and Josh Starr, superintendent of schools in Montgomery County, Md., over whether states should take a three-year break from accountability testing.

Josh Starr’s article is “A Testing Moratorium is Necessary: Great instruction needs great assessments

Margaret Spellings’ article is “Assessments are Vital for Healthy Schools: Putting a moratorium on testing is akin to shooting the messenger

-Education Next

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