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[Susan notes: The writer makes the important observation that teachers don't get new information from the constant stream of assessment data touted by testing advocates.]

Published in New York Times
07/22/2013

To the editor



Re: ( The Trouble With Testing Mania, editorial, July 14), It's clear that we need to rethink "testing mania." High-stakes assessments have sapped schools of three critical ingredients: time, money and talent. Testing critics often focus on the loss of instructional time. But time isn̢۪t the only wasted resource. Financial resources are being squandered as districts scramble to meet the technology demands of the new Common Core assessments.



Most significantly, the testing intended to ensure high-quality teaching is bleeding our profession of its most talented members.



Testing advocates insist that teachers need a constant stream of assessment data to know how to target instruction. But external tests rarely provide expert teachers with new information. We know our children's proficiency with critical skills by closely observing and probing their thinking daily.



What about tests as a motivational tool for teachers? Assessments drain our classrooms of joy and distract us from our craft. Tests can't motivate us to perform. Children motivate us to perform.





The writer is a elementary-school teacher in the Cambridge Massachusetts Public Schools.

Karen Engels


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