President Obama issued a statement on October 24, 2015 that testing has gone too far and needs to be reduced to at most 2% of classroom instruction time.
Governor Cuomo followed up with a press release praising President Obama’s Testing Action Plan and detailing what he believes New York has already done to make testing less onerous.
Unfortunately as Diane Ravitch points out based on a piece written by Tim Farley, for states like New York where we already require 2% or less of instructional time to be spent on testing, the new Obama testing policy might increase the time spent testing students.
In New York, as Cuomo has reminded us, we already have a two percent cap on time spent on standardized testing. What does that actually mean? New York requires 180 school days and an average school day runs about 6.5 hours. Do the math and the result is 180 x 6.5 x 2% = 23.4 hours of testing. So, by law, we cannot exceed 23.4 hours of standardized testing in grades 3 — 8.
This begs the question — how much time do kids in grades 3–8 spend on the state tests in English Language Arts and math? If you are a general education student, you will spend roughly nine hours in a testing room for both the ELA and math tests. If you are a student with a learning disability (SWD), and you have a testing accommodation of “double time,” you get to sit in a testing location for eighteen hours. As insane as that seems, it is still 5.4 hours short of the time allowed by law. A 2% cap isn’t a step forward, it’s a giant leap backward. …
How much testing is too much? I don’t know the magic number that will give the state education departments and the U.S. Department of Education the data they supposedly need in order to determine the effectiveness of the schools, but I do know that nine hours of testing is too much for a nine-year-old, eighteen hours is abusive for nine-year-olds with a learning disability, and 23.4 hours of testing for a child at any age is criminal.
Articles announcing President Obama’s Testing Action Plan:
- Education Department: Too much testing, partly our fault – Politico October 24, 2015
- Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools – The New York Times October 24, 2015
Additional responses to the federal/New York State statements on reducing testing time:
- Cuomo admits that his education plan has failed – Dr. John Metallo
- A decrease of less than one percent of annual testing is a joke, right? – Stopcommoncorenys
- USED: Recycled Empty Course Change on Testing – Peter Greene, Curmudgucation
- Obama’s Testing Action Plan Sucks (And Changes Nothing) – Peter Greene, Curmudgucation
- When is a pledge to decrease testing not a pledge to decrease testing – Daniel Katz, Ph.D.
- Obama, Cuomo diss standardized testing, but what does it mean for Kingston? Kingston Times November 7, 2015 – I had the opportunity to respond as part of this local article. In summary I am suspicious of the intent behind the 2% testing cap (I feel it is purely for political gain) and feel that it won’t benefit students nor is it addressing the real problems with testing.
- President Obama Opts Out of High Stakes Testing – Laurie Levy, Still Advocating
By the way if you are not a regular reader of Mr. Greene’s posts, ‘BS Tests’ stands for ‘Big Standardized Tests’.