Testimony before the Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary and Vocational Education

Al Shanker testifies before this sub-committee of the Committee on Education and Labor of the U.S. House of Representative. He warns against adoption of two house bills, H.R. 3564 and H.R. 4949 which deal with regulation of standardized tests. Similar legislation had recently been passed in New York, and Shanker had witnessed firsthand the negative consequences of the law. One proviso in one of the bills required the graded tests to be sent to students so they could see where they had erred. Shanker argues that publishing test questions in this way would make it very difficult to maintain standards since often test questions are used again in future tests and this duplication contributes to the standardization of the tests and results. Publishing these questions would render them unusable and would, over time, detract from the meaning of the results. Shanker also warns against the increased role of the federal government in overseeing educational testing, warning of mandates for admissions standards that, Shanker argues, should be decided by individual colleges and universities. Finally Shanker mentions briefly the increased cost of administering tests if these laws pass, and the inconsistency in the fact that the federal government's own tests (such as the civil service exam) would not be subject to the same rules.

Washington, D.C.
8 pages
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