The Culture of Testing: A look at the Assessment Industry

Jay Matthews:

Blank blue computer screens frustrated thousands of Virginia students this month during online state exams in a series of disruptions that underscored vulnerabilities in the educational testing industry. Such episodes, experts said, could prompt changes in how the nation’s schools assess student performance.
Test software malfunctions in several states, coupled with staff shortages and cutthroat competition in the industry, have fueled a growing debate over whether to cut the number of tests taken under the federal No Child Left Behind law or adjust the testing calendar.
“The system has had a lot of pressure put on it,” said Adam J. Newman, a managing vice president of the market research group Eduventures Inc. in Boston.