Encourage colleges and universities to broaden their acceptance criteria to put less emphasis on test results
In April 2001 the National Urban League called for colleges and universities to end their "obsession with the SAT." The national civil rights organization supported its argument for the use of multiple indicators of applicants' abilities with the results of a survey of the nation's top executives. Ninety-six percent said standardized test scores are "not very important" to long-term success in business, and 91 percent of the 200 executives interviewed rated "character" the most important attribute for success.
Emphasize the importance of skills not measured by student performance on standardized tests
Now, more than ever, our schools must promote social-emotional learning, that is, help students develop the critical interpersonal skills that they'll need throughout their school years and beyond. Rutgers University Professor Maurice Elias discusses the importance of an ongoing commitment to social-emotional learning in his thoughtful September 26, 2001 Education Week essay, "Prepare Children for the Tests of Life, Not a Life of Tests."
Offer your expertise as an outside assessor
Many schools are taking advantage of local business and community resources to assist in the implementation of performance assessments. The 32 high schools in the New York Performance Standards Consortium, for example, routinely rely on experts in the business and academic community to assist in the evaluation of student work.
"A Better Balance: Standards, Tests, and the Tools to Succeed." This 2001 Education Week report addresses the nationwide standards and accountability movement. It includes the results of a survey of more than 1,000 classroom teachers, along with a comprehensive analysis of statewide practices with regard to standards, assessment, and accountability systems.
The Business Roundtable. Visit the Web site of this national organization for reports on testing, accountability, and standards.
"What Makes a Good School? A Guide for Parents Seeking Excellence in Education." [Download PDF (23KB)] Although written for parents, this paper, published by The Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards & Student Testing (CRESST), provides an excellent overview for anyone interested in understanding the many features and programs that combine to make a good school.
Roberta Furger is a contributing writer for Edutopia.