The beginnings of the testing go way back to 1837, when Horace Mann became secretary of the State Board of Education in Massachusetts with the goal of making school's accountable.  A few years later, he claimed schools in Prussia were "superior to America’s."  To hold schools more accountable, Mann hired Samuel Gridley Howe to create tests for Boston and suburban schools.  The report that ensued "lambasted the schools" and identify the worst teachers!

As my dad, the avid NY Times Op Ed reader would have said, "If we study history, we won't repeat mistakes!"