Obama encouraging limits on standardized student tests

Written by on October 26, 2015 in Agencies & Systems, Government with 8 Comments
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By The Associated Press | The Daily Gazette

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Addressing one of education's most divisive issues, President Barack Obama on Saturday called for capping standardized testing at 2 percent of classroom time and said the government shares responsibility for turning tests into the be-all and end-all of American schools.

Students spend about 20 to 25 hours a school year taking standardized tests, according to a study of the nation's 66 largest school districts that was released Saturday by the Council of the Great City Schools. But it's not known how much class time students spend preparing for tests that became mandatory, starting in third grade, under the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind law and are a flashpoint in the debate over the Common Core academic standards.


“Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble,” Obama said in a video released on Facebook. “So we're going to work with states, school districts, teachers, and parents to make sure that we're not obsessing about testing.”

To drive the point home, Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan plan an Oval Office meeting Monday with teachers and school officials working to reduce testing time.

And from the 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced the principles laid out by Obama. “We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward,” she said in a statement.

In all, between pre-K and 12th grade, students take about 112 standardized exams, according to the council report. It said testing amounts to 2.3 percent of classroom time for the average 8th-grader.

“How much constitutes too much time is really difficult to answer,” said Michael Casserly, the council's executive director.

Obama cannot force states or districts to limit testing, which has drawn consternation from parents and teachers. But Obama directed the Education Department to make it easier for states to satisfy federal testing mandates and he urged states and districts to use factors beyond testing to assess student performance.


The Obama administration said it still supports standardized tests as a necessary assessment tool, and there are no signs they are going away soon.

Both the House and Senate versions of an update to No Child Left Behind would preserve annual reading and math exams, although the House version would diminish their significance in determining whether schools are up to par. The legislation is in limbo while House and Senate negotiators figure out how to reconcile the competing versions.

Administration officials said that in many cases, testing is redundant, poorly aligned with curriculum or simply overkill. They said the administration supports legislative proposals to cap testing time on a federal level, but wanted to offer states a model for how to cut down on testing absent congressional action.

“There's just a lot of testing going on, and it's not always terribly useful,” Cecilia Munoz, the director of the White House's Domestic Policy Council, said in an interview. “In the worst case, it can sap the joy and fun out of the classroom for students and for teachers.”

Casserly said his group found examples of testing redundancy that could be cut to create more instructional time. For example, some states and school districts were requiring both end-of-year tests and end-of-course tests in the same subjects in the same grade.

[Read more here]

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com.

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8 Reader Comments

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  1. 539348966221008@facebook.com' Manbir Dalam says:

    Children

  2. 10155924829940346@facebook.com' Spencer James Smith says:

    Obama doesn’t care. He’s just pretending. It’s a show. Just wait and see.

  3. 10152924338076436@facebook.com' Jarema Jay A says:

    Who gives a fuck what Obama thinks? US presidents are just puppets.

  4. 10205606218942450@facebook.com' Martin Queen says:

    I strongly disagree with the President’s meddling

  5. 10204850319360049@facebook.com' Alborz Ajeli says:

    Puppet fool

  6. 409782735883183@facebook.com' Marsha Creary says:

    Yes

  7. 1509148632733151@facebook.com' Elke Freitag says:

    I totally agree with Obama. Tests produce an atmosphere of fear and stress – this has never been a good guide! From the earliest age, children have the desire to keep on learning – we should not destroy this treasure by testing and judging them!

    • 10152924338076436@facebook.com' Jarema Jay A says:

      Have you ever been afraid of a school test?? Have you ever felt judged by one? This is PC going wrong yet again.

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