Grinding the Antitesting Ax: More bias than evidence behind NRC panel's conclusions

Eric A. Hanushek
Published Date
Spring 2012
Education Next
pp. 49-55
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was scheduled for reauthorization in 2007, and its future has in recent months garnered renewed attention. Yet so far, Congress has found it impossible to reach sufficient consensus to update the legislation, as competing groups want to a) keep all the essential features of the current law as a way of maintaining the pressure on schools to teach all students, b) modify the federal law by moving to a value-added or some alternative testing and accountability system, or c) eliminate federal testing and accountability requirements altogether, reverting to the days when the compensatory education law was simply a framework for distributing federal funds to school districts. Critics of NCLB’s testing and account-ability requirements have a litany of complaints: The tests are inaccurate, schools and teachers should not be responsible for the test performance of unprepared or unmotivated students, the measure of school inadequacy used under NCLB is misleading, the tests narrow the curriculum to what is being tested, and burdens imposed upon teachers and administrators are excessively onerous.