If We Want To Boost Reading Scores, We Need To Change Reading Tests

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Test scores show American students have made no progress in reading for two decades, and experts are speculating on the cause of the stagnation. Here’s one reason that few have focused on: the nature of standardized reading tests themselves.

Last week, scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress—often referred to as the NAEP, or The Nation’s Report Card—revealed that about two-thirds of students across the country scored below the “proficient” level on reading tests administered in 2017. The even worse news is that the figure hasn’t changed since 1998.

Education policy wonks have been trying to come up with explanations. Maybe we haven’t been spending enough money on education, or perhaps we’re not holding schools and teachers sufficiently accountable for low scores. Maybe it’s deepening levels of poverty. But what if the reason for the flat scores is that by putting so much emphasis on reading tests, we’ve been undermining our own efforts?

Parents and teachers have complained loudly for years about the way testing has come to dominate the curriculum. The NAEP itself can’t be held responsible for that, because it carries no real consequences. But the yearly state tests that have been mandated since the No Child Left Behind law went into effect in 2002 have had significant consequences—and a huge impact on instruction.

The influence of testing goes far beyond one big end-of-year test. Beginning in the earliest grades, students also take tests throughout the school year that are supposed to predict their performance on the big tests. And they spend many hours on activities designed to prepare them for tests.

READ-SHARE-DISCUSS-LEARN more here – https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliewexler/2018/04/15/if-we-want-to-boost-reading-scores-we-need-to-change-reading-tests/#16190448495a

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