The Short of It
A new study by the Council of the Great City Schools shows that children take more than 100 standardized tests from K to 12—amounting to 20 to 25 hours of standardized tests each year. (And that doesn't count all those spelling tests and pop quizzes the teacher's creating to test their knowledge—nor all the school time that students spend preparing for those tests.)
Thanks to new mandates as part of the Common Core/No Child Left Behind legislation, our kids are tested—a lot. The study, which reviewed test schedules for kids in 66 big-city districts, found that eighth graders spent 2.3 percent of their school time in standardized tests. Those standardized tests are used for everything from evaluating teachers to determining federal funding.
And that heavy focus on test scores has led many parents and teachers to revolt against the testing. More than 175,000 students refused the much-maligned PARCC test in New York, and many states are bracing for even more test refusals this year.
With mounting evidence against the spate of standardized tests and growing concern among parents, even the federal government appears to be backing away from its testing edicts. Over the weekend, President Obama released a Facebook video that took a stand against some of this standardized testing, and pledged to help reduce the quantity and better measure the quality of standardized testing children undergo.
While it's a good first step toward a more sensible approach to standardized tests, it's a long, slow road to undo the damage that's already been done, in my opinion. And until the PARCC tests are finally removed from my daughters' schools, I'll still be refusing the tests on their behalf.