The New York Times today reports that groups of New York City parents are boycotting sampling tests. These tests that children take–about reading, writing, and arithmetic, etc.–are samples for those that will be used to evaluate teachers and schools, among other purposes.

But wait! There’s a real reason to question the use of these tests to evaluate schools and teachers. That reason? They are NOT VALID for that purpose. It is a misuse of them–since these tests are designed to see what children know and can do.

It is a basic requirement of standardized tests that they be used for the purpose they were intended. These tests were intended to measure student performance–not teacher performance. Doing so is invalid. Period.

It is disappointing that this very basic argument about test invalidity is not being made–even by those who now ‘boycott’ sampling tests. It’s a very powerful argument. Someone should makes it soon.

The national testing train has left the station. Let’s stop it before it gets to the destination… Teacher evaluation tests are NOT the same as student evaluation tests…

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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