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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on the Use of Standardized Tests

1971 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada


Standardized tests of achievement in English and reading have been subjects of growing controversy. Some test norms were established long ago or were based on populations that do not resemble the population being tested. The contents of many tests, moreover, are widely regarded as culturally biased or pertinent to outdated curricula. Moreover, many students who fail to demonstrate reading competency on standardized tests can and do read materials of interest to them.

Clearly other measures than standardized tests are needed to evaluate achievement in language arts skills. These include locally prepared tests of language arts skills, surveys of students' reading habits, and evaluations by teachers who work daily with students. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English urge local school districts, colleges, and state agencies

     to re-examine standardized tests of English and reading in order to determine the appropriateness of their content to actual instructional goals and the appropriateness of the test norms to students;

     to study problems in the use and interpretation of these tests; and

     to consider carefully means other than standardized tests, including student self-evaluation, of assessing the language arts skills of students.

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