In his monthly article in American Teacher, in February 2006, AFT President Edward J. McElroy discusses the increasing dissatisfaction of AFT members regarding the excessive testing required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). He indicates the majority of AFT members agree there is too much testing which has left less room in the curriculum for instruction to be fully accomplished. He also indicates that these new required standardized tests are of poor quality and newer tests seem not to be in alignment to the standards. Too much time is set aside for test days to field-test new questions.
There also seems to be an abundance of old exams on top of the new ones being instituted. For example, McElroy found that one district was giving five different tests for students in kindergarten, second-graders being examined by tests not aligned with state standards and some third-graders loosing ten days of instruction due to testing.
Responses to AFT questionnaires repeatedly indicate too much class time is being used for testing. However, no one seems to have a plan to maximize instructional time or to specify which tests should be eliminated.
Therefore, the AFT is beginning a training program to assist its members to make better use of student test results and to make a distinction between standards-based tests and those tests which are less useful. Additionally, the AFT is going to provide state and local political leaders with kits to influence legislators and school boards to re-examine their policies on testing.
It is my belief the overwhelming numbers of state exams are putting pressure on the schools and the teachers to get the children to "perform" at an acceptable level. Teachers may feel more pressured and many of them end up spending large amounts of classroom time on test...