AASA Releases Statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s ‘Testing Action Plan’


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – Oct. 27, 2015 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today following the Oct. 24 release of the “Testing Action Plan” issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The plan is composed of suggestions for how states and districts can cut down on high-stakes testing in favor of high-quality teaching and learning.

“It has long been the view of AASA that standardized tests currently in place do not measure independent thinking or creativity. They measure cognitive skills at the lowest levels — recall and knowledge. Teaching-to-the-test is leading to a loss of emphasis on subject areas that are not tested. Testing is a key component of the educational process, but we must separate testing for the sake of informing instruction from testing purely for accountability purposes. This announcement is acknowledgement of the role that overly frequent assessments can play in contributing to the high-stakes testing climate under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

“In taking this action, the administration reflects a message that has been consistently relayed by administrators, educators and parents alike: continued reliance on a high-stakes testing scheme is bad policy. As Congress continues its efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), assessment frequency has been a hot topic.

“For AASA, the issue of assessment does not stand in isolation. A single assessment can be inexplicably arduous if the corresponding accountability is overly prescriptive and burdensome. Responsible federal policy in this space will look not only at the number of mandated assessments, but also at the manner in which the related results are available, analyzed and used.

“This announcement reflects a key finding in this year’s PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. According to the poll, most Americans believe there is ‘too much emphasis on standardized testing.’ 

“This announcement is a strong step toward establishing a healthier and more realistic dynamic between the federal and state/local governance in education, and represents an opportunity to better ensure that our nation’s schools can provide robust educational opportunities to all the students they serve.”  


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.