High-stakes tests assailed
By CATHEY ODONNELL
The Journal News.
All rights reserved.
Publication date: 4/5/2000
A federal bill filed yesterday would ban New York and other states from using high-stakes tests as the sole criterion to decide which students get promoted or earn a high school diploma.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2000
STATEMENT OF RAUL YZAGUIRRE, NCLR PRESIDENT, ON FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY IN STANDARDIZED TESTING
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) today joins with its colleagues in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in applauding Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) for introducing legislation to ensure greater fairness and accuracy in standardized testing of students. While we believe that testing is an important and necessary part of the educational process, Senator Wellstone's bill would shift the focus of our education system from over-reliance on these tests and place it where it belongs - on improving student achievement. Latinos are an increasing segment of the current school population and the future workforce, and obtaining better educational outcomes for Latino students is vital for our nation's prosperity. Unfortunately, these children are seldom challenged to meet high academic standards and are often denied the opportunity to take rigorous classwork.
High-quality tests can be a good tool for improving schooling and holding school systems accountable for helping all children meet high standards.However, they should never be the only measure used for making high-stakes decisions that will have a dramatic impact on these children's lives.
Senator Wellstone's legislation simply states that schools should not place children in a specific program or deny them high school diplomas without looking at multiple aspects of their educational performance.We strongly encourage Congress to adopt Senator Wellstone's proposal as soon as possible. What Senator Wellstone is proposing is supported by education and testing research and should be supported by anyone interested in raising the academic achievement of Latino and other students.