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Will the Obama Administration’s New Pushback Against Standardized Testing Mean Big Changes?

Will the Obama Administration’s New Push Back Against Standardized Testing Mean Big Changes?

A study of the nation’s 66 largest schools prompted President Obama to speak out against the standardized testing that has run amok in America’s schools, accounting for a good chunk of instructional time in American education presently.

The study from the Council of the Great City Schools found that the average eighth grader spends 2.3 percent of classroom time taking some of the 112 average exams he or she will be administered by 12th grade.

Despite finding students spend a significant amount of time spent taking exams, the study did not find "that more time spent on tests improved academic performance, at least as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a longstanding test sometimes referred to as the nation’s report card,” said The New York Times.

Numerous factors have contributed to this ineffectiveness of testing. Oftentimes, testing is disjointed and disconnected. Common Core was implemented in hopes of implementing the same standard and procedure across the country, but the ability of states to change what constitutes proficient has left everyone still scratching their heads when asked how America’s students are doing.

Even further, many states pushed-back against Common Core exams completely. "As a new generation of tests tied to the Common Core was rolled out last spring, several states abandoned plans to use the tests, while others renounced the Common Core, or rebranded it as a new set of local standards. And some parents, mostly in suburban areas, had their children opt out of the tests,” The Times said.

Obama’s administration announced that it will immediately begin getting serious about finding ways to both reduce testing and make existing testing more effective.

"The administration said it would issue 'clear guidance' on testing by January. Some of the language of the announcement Saturday was general; it said, for example, that tests should be 'worth taking' and 'fair.' Like new guidance from many states, it stressed that academic standards and curriculum are to be fleshed out locally.”

Though this sounds drastic, the administration wants to be clear that it will not be totally backing away from testing but rather will focus on testing on only relevant state standards to best determine how students are doing.

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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