In his response to a question from Eli Yokley about my Turner Report/Huffington Post criticism of the testing factory that American public schools have become, Duncan said. "I think students should be assessed annually. Where folks are over testing, that’s not something we’re going to see."
No matter what Duncan says, the president's plan, as outlined in an article in today's Washington Post, appears to be opening the door for even more testing:
Senior administration officials said waivers will be awarded to states that adopt academic standards that ensure their high school graduates are ready for college or a career, measure school performance not merely by test results but by student improvement over time, and evaluate teachers and principals using a variety of measures, including but not limited to student test scores.
States will be required to launch “rigorous” campaigns to turn around their lowest-performing schools — the bottom 5 percent. And they will have to devise ways to focus on students with the greatest needs in another 10 percent of schools with low graduation rates or large achievement gaps between students of different races. States will also have greater flexibility with about $1 billion in funding for schools attended by poor children.
States will still be required to test all children in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school and report results by subgroups — including race, English learners and students with disabilities — so it is clear how every student is faring.
This does not sound like a recipe for less testing in American schools.