Education officials to re-examine standardized testing

Education officials will re-examine standardized testing in the U.S. due to growing complaints from the public. The general consensus is that students pre-kindergarten to 12th grade are taking too many exams.

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools recently said, “Testing is an important part of education, and of life. But it’s time that we step back and see if the tail is wagging the dog.” The Council of Great city schools represents 67 urban school systems.

The Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents education commissioners in every state, has also joined in on the effort.

Teachers have always administered tests; but exams became a federal mandate in 2002 under the No Child Left Behind Act. It requires states to test students annually in math and reading, starting in grades 3 through 8 and ending with high school.

In the past two years, four states have delayed or repealed graduation testing requirements. Four other states, including Texas, where the idea of using these tests began, have reduced the number of exams required or decreased their consequences.

In addition to federally required tests, states have added on more assessments, many that mandate exams such as an exit test to graduate high school.

On average, students in large urban school districts take 113 standardized tests between pre-K and 12th grade.

The number of standardized tests that U.S. students take is too high. While I feel that the idea to use tests to hold schools accountable is a good one, the frequency and redundancy of standardized testing has gone too far. It is essential to measure student achievement, but I hope that further analysis of standardized testing will lead to ways to relieve some of the burden that these tests bring to our students.

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