Obama calls for limits on standardized testing

Taking to Facebook to address the 20-25 hours students spend taking standardized tests annually, President Obama called for limiting the amount of time devoted to testing to two percent of class time on Saturday.

Learning is so much more than just filling in the right bubble so we’re going to work with states, school districts, teachers and parents to make sure that we’re not obsessing about tests,” the president said in a video statement.

Spurred by a recent study released by the Council of Great City Schools, Mr. Obama stated he intends to work with the Department of Education all the way to parents to end the “overuse” of standardized testing.

The sweeping study released Saturday concluded students pre-K to the 12th grade submit to roughly 112 standardized examinations per annum and the average time spent for an 8th grader amounts to 2.3 percent of class time.

Among the revelations from the study:  (a) Excessive testing led to a loss of instruction time; (b) an incoherent national assessment system which lacks any overarching strategy; and (c) conflicts between examinations designed evaluate district staff and faculty when the tests were created to track school progress.

Conflicting with the president, the Council of Great City Schools urged no caps be placed on test time.  The study did recommend re-evaluation of current tests and advised the streamlining of tests to re-place multiple examinations.

Our students are over-tested.

For years, critics have charged standardized tests tend to divert attention from a learning environment to a method of narrowing curriculum and “teaching to a test.”  Critics also charge test taking has induced a billion-dollar industry which has been exposed as an error-riddled system.

Similarly, experts have criticized the testing culture which has developed in our public education system as encouraging dishonesty in reporting results and promoting unhealthy competition between school districts vying for federal funds.

While 2.3 percent of class time spent on testing may appear insignificant now, since 2002, when No Child Left Behind was passed, state spending on standardized testing has exploded from approximately $400 million to exceed one-billion dollars today and during the same time period, overall test scores have either remained consistent or dropped nationally.

Once useful, standardized testing has been abused in the last forty years. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate a more dramatic reduction of testing time to devote to the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic.

 

[Fox News] [Standardizedtest.procon,org] [CGCS.org] [Photo courtesy Smartlab.in]