Current Campaign: High Stakes Testing
The ACLU of RI is working with student and education groups to stop high-stakes testing from keeping otherwise qualified students from graduating. In 2014, Rhode Island is scheduled to begin using standardized testing as a zero-sum graduation requirement. The statewide scores for the NECAP showed that two in five of Rhode Island 11th graders are in jeopardy of not graduating from high school next year. The ACLU is calling for the elimination of the test as the sole determinant of graduation eligibility and the institution of responsible, fair and indiscriminate graduation requirements.
The ACLU of RI filed two lawsuits during the summer of 2013. The first, Providence Student Union v. RI Board of Education, is a lawsuit in R.I. Superior Court over the R.I. Board of Education’s (BOE) failure to consider a petition filed by seventeen organizations to do away with the Board’s “high stakes testing” graduation requirement. The lawsuit argues that the Board had an obligation under state law, which it ignored, to consider the proposal and either reject it or initiate a formal rule-making process to consider its adoption. In February 2014, the court ruled the Board did violate the Administrative Procedures Act by not responding in writing to the petition.
The second, Egan v. RI Board of Education, an open meetings lawsuit against the R.I. Board of Education over its plans in August to meet in a private retreat, closed to the public and the media, in order to hear from invited “experts” on the issue of its “high stakes testing” requirement for high school seniors. The ACLU argued that allowing such a private meeting would significantly undermine the open meetings law’s purpose. In issuing a preliminary injunction against the planned private discussion of the issue, R.I. Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini agreed with the ACLU that allowing such a discussion to take place in private would significantly undermine the open meetings law’s purpose.
In 2013, representative Eileen Naughton and Senator Harold Metts sponsored legislation, strongly supported by the ACLU but opposed by the RI Department of Education, banning the use of standardized tests for high stakes purposes. (H 5277, S 0117). Although the General Assembly did not pass the bill, on the last day of the session they approved a joint resolution requesting the Board of Education to delay implementation of the high stakes testing requirement and instead consider a weighted compilation of state assessment (H 5277A, S 1047). The General Assembly has now joined the city of Providence and dozens of advocacy groups in expressing opposition to the current RIDE policy.
The General Assembly will again consider legislation banning the use of standardized tests as a high-stakes graduation requirement in the 2014 session.
- 2014 ACLU of Rhode Island Testimony (Supporting documents: RI ACLU letter to RI Board of Education; chart of annual performance measures prepared by RIDE; a news release issued by the New York State Education Department)
- 2013 ACLU of Rhode Island Testimony
- NECAP 2012 Bullet Points
- Sample NECAP Questions
- Students at Risk of No Diploma (Class of 2014)
- Students at Risk of No Diploma (By Town)
- May 2013 Letter to the Board of Education
- Petition Cover Letter
- 2013 APA Lawsuit
- 2013 Open Meetings Lawsuit
Related News Releases
- February 26, 2014 - National Experts Submit Legislative Testimony Against “High Stakes Testing”
- February 14, 2014 - Court Rules R.I. Board of Education Again Violated Open Government Laws
- February 13, 2014 - Groups Challenge RI Dept. of Education’s “Rosy” View of NECAP Results for Seniors
- January 23, 2014 - ACLU Claims High Stakes Testing “Waiver” Policy for High School Seniors is in Disarray
- January 9, 2014 - Department of Education Acknowledges that High Stakes Testing Does Not Measure College Readiness
- September 24, 2013 - ACLU Asks Court to Order Board of Education to Reconsider High Stakes Testing Issue in Public
- September 16, 2013 - Again, ACLU Goes to Court Over State Board of Education Secrecy in High Stakes Testing Debate
- September 6, 2013 - Community Organizations Appeal to Governor Ahead of Board of Education's Vote on High Stakes Testing
- August 6, 2013 -Judge Bars State Board of Education from Discussing “High Stakes Testing” in Secret
- August 2, 2013 -Statements on Filing of Egan v. RI Board of Education
- August 2, 2013 - ACLU Sues State Board of Education Over Plans to Discuss “High Stakes Testing” in Secret
- July 24, 2013 - ACLU Sues State Board of Education for Failing to Address High Stakes Testing Policy
- June 24, 2013 - Community Organizations File Formal Petition to Amend High School Graduation Regulations
- May 21, 2013 - Groups Continue to Push for End of "High Stakes Testing"
- Feb 26, 2013 – 4,200 Students in Jeopardy of Not Graduating from High School Due to High Stakes Test
- Oct 05, 2012 - Dozens Call for an End to “High Stakes Testing”
- Feb 23, 2012 - Standardized Test Results Show That “High Stakes Testing” Would Have “Devastating Consequences”
- Feb 23, 2012 - Comments from Participants in the High Stakes Testing News Conference
- Feb 08, 2012 - Advocacy Groups Supporting Legislation to Halt Use of “High Stakes Testing” On Rhode Island Students
- Mar 03, 2011 - Groups Call on Board of Regents to Postpone Vote on High Stakes Testing Graduation Regulations
- Feb 04, 2011 - Proposed Graduation Requirements Pushed Back to 2014
- Jan 24, 2011 - New High School Diploma Requirements Likely to Create a “Caste System,” Stigmatize At-Risk Students