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The Past, Present and Future of High-Stakes Testing

After a long stretch as the law of the land, annual standardized tests are being put to, well, the test. This week, the Senate education committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and, specifically, on testing. The committee’s chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems. But Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the committee, have dug in their heels to say that annual tests should remain mandatory.