Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action
January 11, 2017
Testimony before the New Hampshire House Education Committee
Prohibiting the inclusion of statewide assessment results in a student’s transcript without consent.
For the record, my name is Ann Marie Banfield and I am the Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action. I come here today in support of HB275.
The first question you should ask yourself is, what is the purpose of standardized testing? In the past, it’s been a way to inform parents and schools on whether their children have mastered the academic content in the core subjects. Unfortunately standardized testing has deviated so far from its original intent that parents are refusing to let their children take those tests.
Standardized tests are still the norm for private and parochial schools and this has served parents and administrators well. Achievement testing gives parents and school personnel good information on how well the students have mastered the academic content. The purpose of achievement testing is to test academic knowledge, return that information to the school and parents and allow them to proceed with changes if necessary. Psychometric assessments used in public schools are different,. They are used to measure attitudes and values and collect data on students for judging and ranking purposes. This is why parents are now refusing the standardized assessments for their children. That is unfortunate because a good quality achievement test, like the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, will tell school administrators, teachers and parents if the students are mastering the academic content. Parents are not interested in giving testing companies or the government personal data on their children and family.
In the past I’ve testified to the numerous flaws and problems with these kind of psychometric assessments. I’ve included links below from testing experts who have expressed their concerns and opposition over using these kinds of assessments in our schools. None of the Common Core assessments composed by SBAC, PARCC or AIR meet the ethical standards and requirements of validity as described by multiple ethics organizations governing clinical & school psychologists. In the private sector of academic and psychological testing, a failure to follow ethics in testing would result in a civil lawsuit and the loss of licensure. None of the testing policies have peer-reviewed science backing in the field of pediatric clinical psychology. And yet school board members are supporting administrators who authorize assessments and never questioning the validity of these psychometric assessments in our public schools.
The U.S. Department of Education uses fraudulent research to justify changes in testing policies. Nobody ever checked their research claims until a group of doctors caught them red-handed committing research fraud.
HB275 will put into law, prohibitions on placing a student’s score on the student’s transcript. This will protect students from possible misleading or even inaccurate information following them after leaving the school district. It’s bad enough when flawed assessments are used to evaluate teachers and schools. This is something I’ve objected to in the past. The last thing we want to do is saddle students with this kind of information as they go forward in life.
Bureaucrats will tell you that over-testing is a big problem in our schools. I’ve heard the same from teachers as well because of the amount of time that is now needed to assess students and collect data on them. It might be a good time to ask yourself, is standardized testing the problem? I’d argue it is not. The problem is this testing scheme being used in the public schools right now: psychometric assessments used to collect data throughout the school year, versus an achievement test that is given for a few hours once a year as a snapshot for parents and school administrators to evaluate. When was the last time you heard a home-schooling parent or a parent in a private school complain about the standardized test?
A good standardized achievement test will do many things:
1) It takes very little time to administer versus the standardized assessments that take time away from learning.
2) It tests only academic knowledge rather than assessing a student’s values, beliefs, attitudes, etc.
3) It offers valuable information to parents, teachers and administrators rather than collecting non-academic information about students.
For these reasons I ask that you vote “ought to pass” on HB275.
1) Why the Smarter Balanced is Fatally Flawed
2) School testing unethical, invalid http://www.fosters.com/article/20150407/NEWS/150409532
3) SBAC Math Specifications Don’t Add Up https://edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/flypaper/2011/guest-post-sbac-math-specifications-dont-add-up.html
4) Dr Gary Thompson Audio of Common Core Tests Are Cognitive Child Abuse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-G72KmZdV4
5) Despite warnings, College Board redesigned SAT in way that may hurt neediest students http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/college-sat-redesign/
6) Embedded Assessments: An End Around Parental Opt-Outs (Addresses the new PACE assessments) http://truthinamericaneducation.com/privacy-issues-state-longitudinal-data-systems/embedded-assessments-end-around-parental-opt-outs/
7) Fake Research Used to Remove Authority From States Over Special Education Testing and Curriculum: https://earlylifepsych.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/south-park-fruit-loops-sage-testing-an-analogy-of-u-s-dept-of-education-duncans-fraud-deciet-harm-a-doctor-fathers-call-for-congressional-state-investigative/