Since the inception of No Child Left Behind, instituted during the George W. Bush administration, students, parents and educators alike have voiced concerns about the value of all the standardized testing that has since been taking place. Not everyone involved is on the same page about whether such testing is excessive or intrusive on learning time, but President Obama has taken a stand with those who are advocating for fewer required standardized tests in schools.
In a study involving 66 of the largest school districts in the U.S., it was found that 20 to 25 hours of classroom time per school year was devoted to actual standardized test-taking. What could not be measured was how much classroom time was devoted to teaching to the tests and directly preparing students for the tests. Likewise, the amount of anxiety that students feel, not only about taking the tests, but about the outcomes of those tests is not quantitatively measurable.
Recently, John Oliver had much to say about standardized testing in schools, here in this "Last Week Tonight" clip:
Currently the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are working on their own versions of changes to No Child Left Behind. Both bodies of Congress and the President agree that standardized testing will not go away completely. What will be up for grabs is how many tests, how often and who must participate.
Teaching and learning are about so much more than what can be measured on a standardized test. Students need to learn critical thinking skills, how to believe in themselves and to be challenged intellectually. Learning requires a give and take of information and opinions, not merely memorization of information.
#Obama and #Education Secretary Arne Duncan realize there is only so much that can be done about the testing from a federal administrative level, but guidance will be provided to the individual states about how they can meet federal requirements in less time or via federal waivers to the Education Department for the No Child Left Behind standards.
It may be next to impossible to satisfy both those who advocate for the current levels of standardized testing in schools and those who seek what they consider more reasonable levels of testing, but the priority should be that students in the U.S. are receiving a quality education that prepares them for life.