Ed Next: If Feds Allow Opt Out, “One Cannot Assess School Performance”
On July 28, 2015, Education Next editor-in-chief Paul Peterson and executive editor Martin West published an article entitled, “Public Supports Testing, Opposes Opt Out, Opposes Federal Intervention.”
In their article, Peterson and West discuss the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) reauthorization that will be heading into House and Senate conference committee in September so that the versions of the ESEA reauthorization that passed the House (the Student Success Act–SSA) and the Senate (the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015–ECAA) might be negotiated to become a single bill.
In SSA, the House includes a blanket opt-out provision. In ECAA, there is also the possibility of opt-out, but states must decide individually on their opt-out policies.
Peterson and West want the resulting ESEA compromise bill to ditch the federal opt-out provision. Here is their reasoning:
One cannot assess school performance accurately unless nearly all (or a representative sample of) students participate in the testing process.
In “nearly all,” Peterson and West are referring to the 95 percent of students that the federal government requires states to test under the current, defunct No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
However, 95 percent of students need not test in order for a state to “assess school performance accurately.”
Consider the research of Peterson and West.
In their post, Peterson and West report results of a survey that they plan to release in full sometime in the near future, and they base their survey results for what all of Ed Next: If Feds Allow Opt Out, “One Cannot Assess School Performance” | deutsch29: