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Imagining a world beyond standardized testing




Senate Republican aides are drafting a bill that could do away with standardized testing. States in need of federal dollars for schools have been required to assess students every year from Kindergarten through high school since the passing of No Child Left Behind Act in 2011. But the value of these assessments have come under scrutiny.
Senate Republican aides are drafting a bill that could do away with standardized testing. States in need of federal dollars for schools have been required to assess students every year from Kindergarten through high school since the passing of No Child Left Behind Act in 2011. But the value of these assessments have come under scrutiny.
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A Senate bill is in the works that may make standardized tests a thing of the past.

Every spring, students nationwide take out their No.2 pencils and participate in mandatory state testing. Ever since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, states who wanted funding from the federal government have been required to assess students every year from Kindergarten through high school. From the act’s inception, educators and parents alike have worried that tests weren’t being administered properly, bringing their value as an assessment tool into question. Now, more than 14 years after the law’s passing, Republican Senate aides are drafting a bill that could effectively do away with standardized testing.

In her new book, “The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing-But You Don't Have to Be,” education journalist Anya Kamenetz makes the case that there are a wide range of alternatives that could yield viable results.

Her proposed alternatives include testing a statistically representative sample of students instead of entire schools, using games to secretly test kids, and testing students for emotional tenacity and practical decision-making. Kamenetz also details the flaws with standardized testing and makes a case for assessments that take a series of factors into account.

Anya Kamenetz joins Larry Mantle today on AirTalk to share these findings and more from her book.

Guests:

Anya Kamenetz, author of “The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing--But You Don’t Have to Be" (PublicAffairs, 2015) and lead digital education reporter for NPR

Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of education at the USC Rossier School of Education