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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Testing

1995 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in San Diego, California


In light of continued and increasing efforts to undermine progress the profession has made toward authentic assessment of students' real and vital engagement with language and literature, NCTE needs to reassert its repeated opposition to over-simplified and narrowly conceived tests of isolated skills and decontextualized knowledge. Since the 1970s, the crux of this concern has been the tension between the breadth of the English language arts curriculum and the restrictive influence of standardized means of assessing student learning.

NCTE has repeatedly warned that a preoccupation with large-scale standardized testing leads to distortion and reduction of this curriculum and to unwise expenditure of public funds that could be better spent on teaching programs. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English reaffirm its opposition to narrowly conceived standardized tests of isolated language skills and decontextualized information;

     that NCTE reaffirm its commitment to authentic assessment reflecting current research on learning, and

     that NCTE study and report on ways that the public funds expended to support standardized tests might be better used to promote student literacy.

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