PTAs and High-Stakes Testing

Local PTAs are understandably cautious about entering political battles such as the campaign against high-stakes testing.

However, the National PTA has officially taken a strong stand against high-stakes testing. Local efforts to reduce the negative effects of high-stakes testing are thus right in line with national PTA policy.

If local PTAs choose to devote some of their energy and initiative to advocating for better forms of assessment, they can make a major difference in this campaign, and a powerful difference for children across North Carolina and the nation.

The official PTA position:

PTA opposes the use of a national, mandated, standardized test as the sole criterion for measuring a school’s or student’s progress. An assessment system should evaluate higher-order skills, including students’ abilities to use technology, conduct research, engage in scientific investigation, and solve problems. An accountability system should include other indicators of educational quality, such as competency of teaching staff, class size, parent involvement, facility condition, and quality of instructional materials.
PTA also believes that states and schools must have the resources—including adequate financial and technical support—to address specific problems and ensure that schools can meet high standards. Student assessment should identify how instruction and learning can be improved.
Talking Points:
• States and school districts should have equitable resources, including equitable funding and technical support, if they are to be held accountable for meeting specific standards of performance.
• Assessments should be used to help parents and teachers determine the specific academic needs of students and increase opportunities for students. They should not be used for high-stakes determinations, such as grade promotion or graduation.