Accountability and Assessment: Measuring Student Learning
WHEREAS, for over a century the NAACP has sought to close the education achievement gap and improve education for all Americans, and to seek an end to school segregation and other methods of imposing educational inequality and injustice; and
WHEREAS, all children must receive a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college and in a global competitive economy; and
WHEREAS, at its July 2013 Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida the NAACP adopted the Common Core Resolution which states in part that "the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that establishes a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adoption to ensure that all students have access to high-quality educational content, supports, and opportunities that research demonstrates are essential to ensure post- secondary success;" and
WHEREAS, President Barack Obama's Blueprint for Reform concludes that assessments better inform classroom instruction to respond to academic needs and measure how schools, principals, and teachers are educating students; and
WHEREAS, parents should have a significant role to play in students making academic gains; and
WHEREAS, assessments with results reported to teachers and parents in a timely manner during the academic year can be an objective tool to ensure equity and sustain a high quality education system for all students; and
WHEREAS, assessment instruments must be designed, pre-tested and validated on student populations representing diverse multicultural, racial and multilingual groups; and
WHEREAS, without meaningful assessments of student learning, neither the parents nor the teachers will know whether individual students are receiving the education they need and deserve; and
WHEREAS, teachers must provide instruction in all of the subjects important for student success and should not sacrifice teaching of standards to the teaching test-taking skills; and
WHEREAS, accountability shines a light on what is working and what needs improvement in order for teachers and individual students to receive the necessary support to be successful; and
WHEREAS, academic tests provide crucial data that reveals where struggling students need help in order to receive the support to learn at grade level, and where struggling schools need additional resources and support; and
WHEREAS, tests must measure learning, not test-taking ability; and
WHEREAS, good teaching also includes social, moral and aesthetic information that is not and often cannot be tested.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP holds state policymakers accountable to increase their awareness of the implications of assessments and accountability for their respective states, and ensure collaboration with their state boards of education and state-level departments; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Education Committee of the National Board of Directors shall convene an Education Summit within one year of approval of this Resolution in order to train and mobilize branches nationwide on academic assessments, Common Core, and other essential issues of education and social justice policy.