Standardized Testing: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What impact does testing have on children?
Although testing may be stressful for some students, testing is a normal and expected way of assessing what students have learned. The purpose of state assessments required under No Child Left Behind is to provide an independent insight into each child's progress, as well as each school's. This information is essential for parents, schools, districts and states in their efforts to ensure that no child--regardless of race, ethnic group, gender or family income--is trapped in a consistently low-performing school.
2. Will student results be made available to parents?
Yes. State assessments will produce reports on each student that will be given to parents.
3. Will the results of a child's tests be private?
Absolutely. Only the parents and school receive the results of an individual child's tests. Individual student scores will not be made public. They are not a part of student achievement data on report cards issued by districts and states.
4. On what subjects are students tested and when?
No Child Left Behind requires that, by the 2005-06 school year, each state must measure every child's progress in reading and math in each of grades 3 through 8 and at least once during grades 10 through 12. In the meantime, each state must meet the requirements of the previous law reauthorizing ESEA (the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994) for assessments in reading and math at three grade spans (3-5; 6-9; and 10-12). By school year 2007-2008, states must also have in place science assessments to be administered at least once during grades 3-5; grades 6-9; and grades 10-12. Further, states must ensure that districts administer tests of English proficiency--to measure oral language, reading and writing skills in English--to all limited English proficient students, as of the 2002-03 school year.
Students may still undergo state assessments in other subject areas (i.e., history, geography and writing skills), if and when the state requires it. No Child Left Behind, however, requires assessments only in the areas of reading/language arts, math and science.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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