Critics of state tests love to flog them for being "too narrow," and now we have the logical consequence. If you want to fix the test, make it longer! The Boston Globe reports that state educators are moving toward including tests of 21st-century skills, such as problem solving, communication, and teamwork, into the standardized state tests. Right away conservatives attacked the move as watering down state content standards and tests, but they were quickly told that the changes would "complement, not replace" the existing tests. The process to include new 21st-century skills testing is expected to take 10 years and require a complete overhaul of teacher training programs and the state's academic standards.
On a related note from post-secondary-land, you can check out this link for the debate over calls for testing and accountability. And see this link for work on greater post-secondary accountability by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
On a different note related to the sagging economy, a community college president received a 50% raise this year, but then turned around and donated the after-tax amount ($74,000+) to a student scholarship fund. Wow! In Kentucky, another community college president recently declined a bonus and pay raise. Signs of difficult times. A community college in Pennsylvania is offering unemployed workers up to 12 college units for free to retrain. A group in Michigan scanned public records to determine how many local students in their community were eligible for a little-known state college aid program.