On October 24, 2015, The White House released (on Facebook!) a short speech by President Obama where he addressed growing concerns over the increase in standardized testing in the U.S. President Obama called for “smart, strategic tests” that help kids learn and don’t take the joy out of learning. Use only worthy tests was the first of three principles he laid out: the second was related to this idea of worthiness—that tests should enhance teaching and learning– and the third advocated moving standardized tests from their privileged place of being the only source of information about a student’s learning to one of multiple measures. None of these ideas are new, but it is significant that the President weighed in on this issue that has attracted great public and professional concern.
Picture a rural school district where more than 13,000 students attend grades 7-12, many families work in agriculture, and many students are English learners.