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Obama Supports Educators Who Reduce Test Volume

Obama Endorses Education Leaders Pulling Back Standardized Tests

Overtesting has become a large complaint for parents, teachers, students, and administrators alike across the nation. In response, President Barack Obama has endorsed a movement by education officials to pull back the amount of testing. 

So says an article on Yahoo.com, which said Obama has announced "a new focus on dialing back the volume of standardized testing and dialing up the quality."

"“I have directed [Education Secretary Arne] Duncan to support states and school districts in the effort to improve assessment of student learning so that parents and teachers have the information they need, that classroom time is used wisely, and assessments are one part of fair evaluation of teachers and accountability for schools,” he said in a statement Wednesday night, according to the article.

Obama responded to a move by the Council of Chief State School Officers, which "has promoted the Common Core State Standards and assessments – and the Council of the Great City Schools, made up of large urban districts." The organization released a set of principles Wednesday to "reduce redundant testing and promote a coherent use of high-quality tests that are valuable for students, parents, and teachers."

Looking at a recent study, the article said, "students are tested an average of once a month, but some are tested as frequently as twice a month."

"Some states and districts have a culture that emphasizes testing over learning, with a lot of time devoted to test prep, practice tests, and pep rallies," the article said. "Despite that, the center found that the time students spent actually taking the tests amounted to less than 1.6 percent of instructional time, on average. The study noted that the time devoted to testing can vary significantly across districts."

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, applauded these efforts but said in a statement that it "addresses the symptoms, not the root cause, of test fixation...It's unconscionable that everything about our schools, our kids and our teachers is reduced to one math and one English high-stakes standardized test per year."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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