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Teachers, Administrators Continue to Question Overhaul of Testing

Teachers, Administrators Continue to Question Overhaul of Testing

Parents and teachers aren’t the only ones upset about the overhaul of standardized tests in K-12 schools.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, among other officials, is finding that these tests are too much, and is encouraging states to cut back on some tests, according to an article on NPR.org.

"In some places, tests — and preparation for them — are dominating the calendar and culture of schools and causing undue stress for students and educators,” Duncan said.

“Of course, he's the guy currently in charge of a big chunk of those tests: the No Child Left Behind requirement of annual standardized testing in grades 3-8, plus once during grades 10-12,” NPR said. “And those tests are just the start. Lately everyone from the president on down has been weighing in on the question: Are kids really being tested too much? And their answer, mostly, is a big ‘Yes.’”

According to the article, President Obama said last month that “he ‘welcomes’ a pledge from state and big-city school leaders to work together to ‘cut back on unnecessary testing and test preparation.’”

With these efforts, there “may be a glimmer of change on the horizon,” NPR said.

“Individual districts, such as Palm Beach County in Florida, are voting to simplify testing requirements,” the article said. “And states including Rhode Island have adopted moratoriums on high-stakes, end-of-course exams.”

"If we do this right, good instruction should lead to higher test scores, where every day that you teach, you're preparing," said Debbie Crockett, principal of Las Vegas High School. "I can put that 30 to 40 percent [of time spent on prep] back into sound instruction."

Brockett said, “in the meantime, testing is defining the school experience for thousands of students, and not in a positive way.”

"Two weeks ago I talked to a kid who had just walked out of exams,” she said. “He was very frustrated. He had tears in his eyes. He has Bs and Cs in chemistry, but he can't pass the science exam. If he doesn't pass, he doesn't graduate."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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