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Obama Vows to Decrease Excessive Time Students Spend on Standardized Testing

In a recent Facebook video posted by the White House, Barack Obama pledged to help reduce the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests. The president says he wants students to spend less than 2% of their school time on standardized testing. This video comes on the heels of a recent study of the nation’s 66 largest school districts, illustrating that students spend between 20-25 hours a year taking tests.

The root of this problem lies with the No Child Left Behind law, enacted in 2002. This law tied student performance on standardized tests to public school funding. As a result, teachers, who are evaluated based on these scores, have spent an increasing amount of class time teaching to the test.

There have been numerous studies over the past decade that have attempted to quantify exactly how much standardized testing helps student learning. The conclusions to these studies have been almost unanimous: too much time is being spent on standardized testing, yet it isn’t helping us stay competitive with peers in other countries.

The Obama administration is not blameless in all of this. It has been heavily criticized for increasing standardized testing’s importance and doing very little to stop the onslaught of these exams.

And while Obama is finally taking a stand on this issue, for many it comes far too late.

Image licensed under Creative Commons.

by Tristan Rhee’ 17


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