Check it out. Very sad for our colleges and standards, as I see it. But not surprising for those of us who have watched the troubling and unfortunately, predictable dive from standards, starting in 2003 when the SAT and ACT stopped “flagging” tests given with nonstandard accommdations. See my piece at the time,

What are we doing as a nation? Whither standards?

As we all know, we have standardized tests because they allow us to evaluate and compare students with one measure, whether students are from cities or rural areas, public or private schools, the USA or other countries.

BUT, if the SAT and ACT are no longer standardized, then what are we paying all this money for? What’s the point? Who are the winners and losers here? I believe our country loses when standards are no longer standard. We lose faith in our colleges. Trust is killed. It’s not a good path forward.

My concern is with these mega testing companies, the SAT and ACT, that went off track 15 years ago and led us astray, not so much with students or parents who take advantage of that open back door. These testing companies need to fix this! NOW!

There are many options for fixing this. Perhaps the SAT and ACT can bring back the notification to readers (colleges, students, parents, taxpayers) when a test is taken under nonstandard conditions, either because a student has a disability or because a student chooses to take the test that way–disabled or not. Or they can stop timing the tests for everyone. BTW–why are these tests timed? Is it just administrative convenience? Test proctors need to be paid more?

What a sad mess they have created for our country. I’m sure there are other fixes. Your thoughts? They need to fix these tests NOW!

Thank you, Mike Schmoker, for this important and necessary Commentary. You are so right! We need more (objective, not-agenda-or advocacy-driven) researchers and educators to speak up for effective educational practices and results.

What’s missing, though, is any mention of special education–the arena filled with agenda-driven, faddish, mandated, and yet, unproven approaches. Beyond differentiated instruction, which is mentioned here as “popular”, but not evidence-based, how about the use of 1:1 aides, the push for technology for “personalized instruction”–whatever that term means (it is still not defined), the overuse and misused of so-called accommodations, the mandate for “inclusion” even when it does not work for all students–just for starters!

When education is driven by Washington and state capitals–instead of by honest researchers and classroom teachers and, even, common sense–can we be surprised that it is not evidence-based? We need more teachers to speak up and pursue what works. Thanks for getting the conversation going.

When will this ever end? What will be the tipping point? How unfair can we be?

Testing companies need to preserve test validity– that’s the product they are supposedly selling–tests that are STANDARDIZED to measure all students fairly and in the same way. So, they have a choice. Either stop timing these tests for everyone or bring back notification that the extended time test results were obtained through NON STANDARD test administration.

When will this ever end? When will they ever learn?