- District Administration reports that some states are reexamining their testing requirements in the wake of growing concerns that standardized testing was taking too much time and focus from actual classroom learning.
- In the wake of these concerns, Ohio has eliminated social studies exams in some grades, New York has cut standardized testing in public schools by one day in reading and math, and Maryland passed the “More Learning, Less Testing Act,” capping standardized testing at about 25 hours of classroom time per year.
- Many school districts and states find they can cut testing by eliminating tests that duplicate results or are no longer relevant to informed instruction.
The Council of Great City Schools reports that the average student in the 66 school districts it examined takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-K and grade 12. Many tests create a stressful environment for students and staff, and they can also interfere with the very creative learning and instruction that brings the most joy to the learning process.
In a data-hungry environment, the need for some standardized testing is evident. In order to make informed decisions, teachers, administrators and school boards need data that compares performance of students against their peers in the same classroom, district, state, nation and beyond. In this way, they can develop an accountability model that helps them improve instruction and pinpoint academic areas that need new strategies
However, achievement testing is also used to determine the future of students, teachers, schools and entire districts. The weight of such fate-determining tests can cause schools to lose their focus on providing instruction in areas, such as the arts and creative and critical thinking, which are equally as important as math, reading, science and social studies, but which are not as easily measured
Evaluation of the right amount of testing is necessary for states and school districts as they try to find the balance.