For the record, I'm not in favor in standardized testing. However, I can see the need for accountability and a need for someone to have a way to say that students are learning. Mostly because the leaders of our government can't visit every classroom and talk to every student to see what they are learning.
That said, I'm not against testing. I am against using tests that aren't valid. The MCA-II test that we use in Minnesota is not a quality solution. The data that we get is for last years kids. The kids don't see the data until late into the summer and they can't really decipher the data. In addition, it tests students that we may have had in our school for as little as one school day.
We use another test that is much more accurate. It is called the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. We do this test quarterly, 3 times a year. That's a lot of testing. However, it gives us instant results that we can give to kids. We can sit with them and discuss the results. We can adjust our instruction to meet the needs of the students. Students can adjust their attitude and make changes in their learning.
So, one test once a year that gives delayed results that are pretty much useless to the students or a test that we can give repeatedly, discuss with students, and adjust instruction. Seems like a no brainer to me.