The Case for Assessments and Accountability

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Two North Texas educators recently took issue with the growing trend among some Texas policymakers to undermine efforts to set high standards for students and make sure schools and educators are strongly encouraged to help all students meet them.

In a podcast and blog post, Stefanie Garcia and Sarah Underbrink laid out their case against recently filed House Bill 1333. Here are some of the highlights:

  • “As a society, we’ve got to stop this idea that we can’t hold students to standards.”
  • “We have to face adversity, not run from it. When we are challenged, we rise.”
  • “I’m tired of debating whether having facts is a good idea or not.”
  • “Change starts with us, today, demanding that we know the truths of our schools.”
  • “Standardized testing and standardized measures of accountability are not incompatible with teaching, individuality, or strengths finding in students.”
  • “We’re boycotting or getting rid of tests, not because they’re bad, but because we don’t like what we see.”
  • “I want to see us – teachers, parents, and districts – start developing more guts and adopt more of a growth mindset.”

We could not agree more with Stefanie and Sarah on the need for policies that ensure ALL students are being well-educated. Our policymakers must address “gross systemic inequities,” and the only way they can target those inequities is if we know exactly where they exist. That’s the true purpose of assessments and accountability.

About the Authors

Stefanie Garcia is a reading specialist in a Texas secondary school, working as an intervention specialist to help struggling high school readers. Prior to working as an interventionist, she worked in Detroit with children in the foster care system. A graduate of Texas public schools and colleges, she proudly maintains support of high-quality public education in her capacity as a literacy coach. She spends her time working with the North Star of Texas teacher consultants and writing intervention curriculum for her district.

Sarah Underbrink has been working with at-risk students at the secondary level for eleven years. In her current role as an intervention support teacher, she works devotedly for student results by providing both students and teachers with instructional support in the science content area. Her experience working with high-needs populations has convinced her that the only way to create an equitable society is by using education to give everyone the same tools – information, the competency to use that information, and the power to participate.

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