Libby praises Committee decision to audit standardized testing

Posted: April 28, 2017 | Senator Libby

Prompted by legislation introduced by Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee has voted unanimously to direct the Maine Education Policy Research Institute, or MEPRI, to include in their work plan for the next year an audit of standardized testing in Maine.

In discussing what work to direct MEPRI to do in the coming work plan, Members of the Education Committee said that the standardized testing audit was their highest priority.

MEPRI is contracted with the Legislature to do research each year under the guidance of the Committee, which develops MEPRI’s annual work plan. Work will begin later this year and MEPRI will report back to the Legislature on their findings in early 2018. Specifically, MEPRI will conduct an audit of standardized testing in a random sample of school administrative units statewide for the purpose of understanding the amount, cost and usefulness of standardized testing.

“As legislators, we too often hear only anecdotes about problems in our communities and our schools,” said Sen. Libby. “I am glad MEPRI will be doing this work so we can gain a better understanding of the positive and negative effects of the current standardized testing regime in Maine in 2017 with empirical data, not anecdote alone.”

A similar audit was recently conducted in Minnesota. The audit showed that while standardized tests “accomplish their primary goal as a tool for comparing student performance across different classrooms, schools and districts,” they are also “costly and time-consuming and teachers often don’t find the information they provide useful,” according to reporting from the Twin City Pioneer Times.