“No” To Testing: Boycotts and Alternatives

Standardized testing was a hot-button issue this year, especially as tests grew longer as new Common Core standards are implemented. Some parents and educators are against the time test preparation takes away from classroom instruction, as well as the high-stakes use of tests to evaluate schools and teachers. Standardized testing’s reputation was further hit by the indictment of former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall for a widespread cheating scandal in that district.

This April, families in New York City rallied against standardized testing by boycotting the state tests. Nell Gluckman covered their press conference here for Gotham Schools. Watch her video of the rally outside the city’s Department of Education and read about the growing movement against standardized testing here.

Rally outside DOE
Rally outside Department of Education. (Still of video by Nell Gluckman)

Some high schools in New York State that have taken a stand against standardized testing do not require students to take the regular five Regents before graduating. Those in the New York Performance Standards Consortium use a performance assessment system where students produce a written portfolio and oral presentation to graduate, as well as passing the English Regents exam. Joanna Seow followed one student at Manhattan International High School, a consortium school, as she prepared her senior portfolio.

Tasneema Sultana before her oral presentation
High school senior Tasneema Sultana before her oral presentation at Manhattan International. (Photo by Joanna Seow)


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