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2005-5

Multiple Criteria Assessment and High Stakes Testing National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators

Representative Dora F. Olivo State of Texas District 27

WHEREAS, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) is the preeminent organization serving and representing the interests of Hispanic state legislators from all states, commonwealths, and territories of the United States and serves as a catalyst for joint action on issues of common concern to all segments of the Hispanic community; and

WHEREAS, reforming standardized testing is one of the policy recommendations to close the achievement gap as outlined by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) to address the needs of Hispanic and African-American students; and

WHEREAS, the results of one test as the sole determinant for promotion, retention and graduation do not accurately measure a student's performance and leads to high stakes decisions that affect our children; and

WHEREAS, children’s abilities are best measured through multiple criteria of academic indicators such as teacher evaluations, students' grades, students' performance, plus the results of well-designed tests; and

WHEREAS, teachers, administrators, parents and students are concerned that a standardized test is consuming too much instructional time to the detriment of other important subject areas; and

WHEREAS, even the creators of these tests do not recommend using one sole test as the measurement of a student's performance; and

WHEREAS, the over-dependence on high stakes tests is driving some of the best teachers and administrators out of the profession and out of public schools; and

WHEREAS, conditioning graduation and/or promotion and retention on the passing of a single test forces schools and teachers to "teach to the test," thereby narrowing the school curriculum; and

WHEREAS, institutions of higher education are placing less emphasis on a single testing instrument as the basis for admissions, opting for multiple criteria; and

WHEREAS, the academic research on retention is clear that retaining children in a grade is not only harmful socially, but academically, resulting in a 50 percent chance that the child will become a dropout if retained once, as a single indicator, increasing to a 90 percent chance if retained twice; knowing that retention due to single indicator of a test is especially harmful;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY the NATIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS OF STATE LEGISLATORS, that NHCSL supports multiple criteria as a way of determining promotion, retention and graduation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NHCSL supports the appropriate use of multiple measurements that include but are not limited to the student's grades, school ranking, grade point average, writing samples, and/or teacher evaluations in combination with the student's scores on standardized tests as essential elements of comprehensive student performance assessment.

Adopted this 18th day of March 2005 at the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators’ Executive Committee Meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia