Knowing the Score: The Who, What, and Why of Testing

This brief provides information about K–12 testing with the goal of helping parents, educators, policymakers, and others make decisions about testing policies in their community and state. Background information is provided, as well as answers to common questions about K–12 testing, including the following:

1. What basic facts about tests are important to understand?
2. Is standardized testing a new development?
3. What are some common reasons for testing?
4. What is high-stakes testing?
5. How much testing goes on in K–12 schools?
6. Who’s responsible for the amount of testing?
7. How do federal requirements from the Congress and U.S. Department of Education contribute to the amount of testing?
8. How do states contribute to the amount of testing?
9. How do districts and schools contribute to the amount of testing?
10. How has the Common Core affected testing?
11. What about college admissions tests and other tests?
12. How can individuals decide how much testing is too much, whether to opt out, and which tests could be eliminated?

Content Comments 

The purposes of this publication are effectively described and met, using high-quality methods, references, and objectivity. While many educators may be familiar with this publication's basic information, this brief provides a good synthesis of testing purposes and uses, especially for parents, teachers, and school district administrators. Communications quality is excellent with effective organization, relatively short sentences, and jargon avoidance. Utility should be reasonably high, especially if the author provides an update to cover the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Evidence of effectiveness is unknown, but an impact on learning is feasible.