LETTER Published in Substance
In my e-mail today I received a note from President Obama which included this statement: "We need a better education plan -- one that cuts standardized testing to a bare minimum ...".
Of course I agree (see Krashen, 2008), but the proposed reduction in testing that has been submitted to congressional committees appears to be only a modest cutback from the current massive, nonstop testing program. I suspect that the plan of the US Department of Education is to reduce testing just enough to satisfy at least some critics and keep the same profits flowing to the testing and computer companies.
With the proposed reductions, there will still be plenty of tests, and they will still be administered online, a huge and ever-growing boondoggle that bleeds money from schools, money that is desperately needed for legitimate educational purposes. Even if the amount of testing is cut 50%, the profits will be about the same, and we will still have far too much testing.
Is the US Department of Education (or anybody else) making any serious efforts to determine just how much testing is necessary and helpful? The answer to a proper inquiry might be very disappointing to the testing industrial complex.
University of Southern California
Krashen, S. 2008. The fundamental principle: No unnecessary testing (NUT). The Colorado Communicator 32 (1): 7. Available at: http://sdkrashen.com/articles.php?cat=4