Testing: The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful

We gathered a diverse group to discuss standardized testing. We expected a lively discussion, and we got that with a heavy dose of sanity, insight and hopeful optimism.


  1. We began with a discussion on how the Seattle MAP boycott impacted the conversation about standardized testing. 
  2. The idea of quality and quantity came up frequently. It is central to the discussion of testing. This group took it beyond that to get more specific.
  3. The idea of quality lives in our focus. Not all content is easy to test. The content that is richer requires a richer test and that, this group feels, would provide more useful data.
  4. The group several times came back to the need to engage a wider audience in the discussion of testing. This begins with including greater teacher voice but goes beyond that to include a much broader group of stakeholders.
  5. Sarah brought up that this discussion will only touch at the surface of what we need to work on in education. The idea of deeper dysfunctions was powerful in describing the problems beneath testing.
  6. For our second question we wanted the group to have a chance to share stories from the field about the testing focus impact, good or bad, on their students.
  7. Again, the need to test those skills and concepts that are richer surfaced.
  8. The group, as usual, was solution focused and offered several ideas about useful aspects of the tests. 
  9. There are several states and districts where the tests do not return results quick enough to inform instruction of a specific group.
  10. This group is well read and has a rich connection to a variety of resources and other education groups. THis is always evident in data, quotes and research they bring into the chat.