Purpose of learning

How much testing is too much?

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.

From Tim Farley:

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.


More teaching less testing

Articles announcing President Obama’s Testing Action Plan:

Additional responses to the federal/New York State statements on reducing testing time:

By the way if you are not a regular reader of Mr. Greene’s posts, ‘BS Tests’ stands for ‘Big Standardized Tests’.

One thought on “How much testing is too much?”

  1. I know my youngest son is tested and assessed way too much. There are local tests and assessments in each core subject then there are star tests done in both reading and math 3 times a year. I just had my sons first parent-teacher conference and he’s been star tested twice and the teacher didn’t even have the results for me or my husband to look at during the second quarter conference. I put a request in to the teacher and the principal and I still have not heard anything. What is the purpose of these tests and assessments? Especially if the 4th grade teacher herself is not looking at them. I feel they are a waste of time. I want to know the usefulness of them. Please respond parents out there. Am I the only parent who feels this way. I have no idea how my son is really doing. This is my 5th child in our Kingston School district and it has never been this bad. Mind you, we like his teacher very much and our son has not missed a day of school yet because he has a great relationship with her and seems comfortable in class. What is the PURPOSE of these ASSESSMENTS if neither teacher or parent gets useful information from them. I would rather he be learning hands on science and participating in MATH QUEST. I am sick of worksheets and assessments and tests. HELP!!!!

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