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Education Dept recommends less testing...article

Posted by on Oct. 26, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • 20 Replies

Education Department Recommends Less Testing



States and school districts should evaluate the number of tests they administer to students and eliminate any deemed ineffective or duplicative, the Department of Education recommended in new assessment guidance released Saturday.

The department is also recommending that states cap the percentage of time students spend taking required state assessments at 2 percent. Parents should receive a formal notice, the department said, if a school exceeds the cap.

The guidance suggests that tests should cover the full range of each state’s standards, a recommendation that comes on the heels of a study from the Center for American Progressthat found the instructional materials states use often aren’t entirely aligned to their standards.

In addition, the department is asking states to ensure a level playing field for students with disabilities and those still learning English.

The guidance emphasizes that while some tests are for accountability purposes, the vast majority of assessments should be tools in a broader strategy to improve teachers and learning.

“No single assessment should ever be the sole factor in making an educational decision about a student, an educator, or a school,” the guidance reads.

Outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been consistent in emphasizing this point, despite pushing states to adopt teacher evaluation and compensation systems based in part on student test scores.

“I still have no question that we need to check at least once a year to make sure our kids are on track or identify areas where they need support,” Duncan said in a statement. “But I can’t tell you how many conversations I’m in with educators who are understandably stressed and concerned about an overemphasis on testing in some places and how much time testing and test prep are taking from instruction.”

The department underscored that the president’s fiscal 2016 budget requested $403 million for state assessments, which it noted states will be able to use to review their existing test. By January, the department will provide additional guidance on what federal funds states and districts can tap to audit their current testing regimen.

“Good assessments are a part of the learning experience, and a critical tool to make sure that all students, including our most disadvantaged students, are learning,” said John King, No. 2 at the Education Department who has been selected to replace Duncan. “But duplicative, unnecessary or poor-quality, low-level tests subtract from learning time and undermine instruction. There are too many tests that do not provide useful information.”

The federal government requires states to test students 17 times before graduation: annually in math and reading in grades 3 through 8, once in those subjects during high school, and then once in science during elementary, middle and high school.

The No Child Left Behind Act, the current version of the federal K-12 law, is largely blamed for ushering in an era of high-stakes testing in the public education system. The accountability at the heart of the law required states to ensure a specific percentage of students was proficient in reading and math each year, and each year that percent had to increase.

If states didn’t reach annual proficiency goals, they could be subject to a series of sanctions. And that type of accountability system resulted in states and school districts piling on their own tests to ensure students were on track to hit those proficiency marks.   

“It’s important that we’re all honest with ourselves,” Duncan noted. “At the federal, state and local level, we have all supported policies that have contributed to the problem in implementation. We can and will work with states, districts, and educators to help solve it.”

The issue of testing has gained traction in the last year as Congress has been trying to rewrite NCLB. As lawmakers try to deliver a bill to the president’s desk before the end of the year, the separate reauthorization proposals passed earlier this year by the House and Senate both include language that would incentivize states to evaluate their tests and eliminate any found to be duplicative or ineffective.

However, both proposal would keep in place the federal requirement that states test students annually.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report


Seems like a "duh" moment...I'm pretty sure teachers and parents ( and students) have been saying this for years. Thoughts? 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

by on Oct. 26, 2015 at 8:58 AM
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Replies (1-10):
steelcrazy
by Emerald Member on Oct. 26, 2015 at 9:29 AM

I heard this on the news last night and was shaking my head and chuckling over it.

Politicians in general are extremely out of touch with reality in the US.  I find it so funny that they try all sorts of bad ideas to make a situation better and then when they finally pull a new to them idea out of their butts, the American public is supposed to applaud them for finally figuring it out?  Too bad most of the American public has already known the solution to the problem all along.  SMH

ljmom24
by Gold Member on Oct. 26, 2015 at 12:25 PM

I heard this morning and wow could have asked any parent that for the last decade or so.... Can we say told you so

mcginnisc
by Claire on Oct. 26, 2015 at 1:49 PM


Quoting steelcrazy:

I heard this on the news last night and was shaking my head and chuckling over it.

Politicians in general are extremely out of touch with reality in the US.  I find it so funny that they try all sorts of bad ideas to make a situation better and then when they finally pull a new to them idea out of their butts, the American public is supposed to applaud them for finally figuring it out?  Too bad most of the American public has already known the solution to the problem all along.  SMH

Yep! 

I giggled when I read this on msn this morning. I was shaking my head thinking " Really?? It took you 20+ years to figure out to stop testing kids all the freakin' time?"   It's no wonder the US is so far behind educationally than other countries. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

mcginnisc
by Claire on Oct. 26, 2015 at 1:50 PM


Quoting ljmom24:

I heard this morning and wow could have asked any parent that for the last decade or so.... Can we say told you so

I agree! It's a fairly simple concept as all this testing has not brought the US into the forefront for education..unlike other countries like Finland that doesn't even teach children to read until after Kindergarten. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

clairewait
by on Oct. 26, 2015 at 1:55 PM

We just started public school this year after 3 years in private. I was a public high school teacher for a while, but it seems like I completely blocked out how often and how many tests we were giving.

I swear I don't think my kids took anything besides spelling tests and scripture memory verse tests in their little private school. But in the first quarter of public school they've had almost 6 "exams" already.

1 or 2 were things they did because they were new to public school - so tests they missed from not being there in previous years. Then there were BOG's and EOQ's and ABC's and PDQ's... I don't know I'm making that up, but seriously, tehre's a million and they all have catchy little shorthand names, and we get emails and auto-phone calls for a week reminding us to feed them a good breakfast that day...

And I'm like, yeah, because breakfast is going to teach my kids all the mulitplication tables she needs to know that she hasn't learned yet.

Gimme a break.

GIVE THEM A BREAK.

Claire Wait

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mom2jessnky
by Platinum Member on Oct. 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM
1 mom liked this

In other mind blowing news... the moon is not in fact made out of cheese. :-P LOL.

GwenMB
by Gwen on Oct. 26, 2015 at 2:31 PM

My sons' private school is under the 2% suggestion for state tests. They have lots of other tests on the actual material they are taught (spelling tests, tests on the material taught in science, social studies etc). But for the standardized tests we are talking about, 2% of school hours is 23 or 24 hours and they are under that with the standardized test they give the kids in April.

wakymom
by Ruby Member on Oct. 26, 2015 at 2:56 PM

 

sidesplittinglaughter

Quoting mom2jessnky:

In other mind blowing news... the moon is not in fact made out of cheese. :-P LOL.

 

 

 

 

wakymom
by Ruby Member on Oct. 26, 2015 at 2:58 PM

 If they had just bothered to ask actual educators about this years ago, they wouldn't have teachers and parents going "We TOLD you so!" right now.

 

 

 

mcginnisc
by Claire on Oct. 26, 2015 at 3:28 PM


Quoting clairewait:

We just started public school this year after 3 years in private. I was a public high school teacher for a while, but it seems like I completely blocked out how often and how many tests we were giving.

I swear I don't think my kids took anything besides spelling tests and scripture memory verse tests in their little private school. But in the first quarter of public school they've had almost 6 "exams" already.

1 or 2 were things they did because they were new to public school - so tests they missed from not being there in previous years. Then there were BOG's and EOQ's and ABC's and PDQ's... I don't know I'm making that up, but seriously, tehre's a million and they all have catchy little shorthand names, and we get emails and auto-phone calls for a week reminding us to feed them a good breakfast that day...

And I'm like, yeah, because breakfast is going to teach my kids all the mulitplication tables she needs to know that she hasn't learned yet.

Gimme a break.

GIVE THEM A BREAK.

We homeschool now after several years of private school. They hardly ever had tests in private school. They had 1 standardized test per year...

The kicker is the curriculum my girls are doing has a million quizzes and tests every week. Lilly is in 4th grade and has at least 9 tests/quizzes per week. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

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