Too Much Testing
With more time testing and less time learning, Texas students are being short-changed. With testing activity now taking from 28 to 45 days each school year, testing is out of control. What can we do?
Save Texas Schools asks our legislature to continue looking at high-stakes testing that is draining both time and resources from the education of Texas children.
Is Texas’ Accountability System Broken?
Texas’ growing overemphasis on standardized testing is depleting valuable classroom instruction time and diminishing students’ development as critical thinkers able to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world. Parents, teachers, school district administrators and business leaders across Texas have expressed mounting frustration and concern as over-testing takes the place of teaching and learning. Many now agree with former Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott who called the state’s current standardized testing regime “a perversion of the original intent.”
Though trailing nationally by nearly every other academic measure, Texas now leads the nation in the amount of time our students lose to standardized testing. But we don’t need a next generation of accomplished test takers. We need well-rounded young adults with the capacity to analyze and solve problems, to create and innovate.
Advocacy in the 2013 legislative session by groups like TAMSA, Raise Your Hand Texas, TSTA, Texas AFT, Save Texas Schools and many others, including individual parents and teachers, resulting in successfully reducing end-of-course exams in high school from a nation-leading 15 to 5 (still keeping us among the top testing states). In addition, HB5 brought new measures in an effort to move back towards a more well-rounded education. These changes still left us with a system over-focused on testing and much work to do in the 2015 legislative session.
We stand with our friends from TAMSA, who have developed the following agenda for testing reform in 2015:
- Use state-mandated standardized testing for diagnostic purposes only — to identify areas where students need additional support. Texas needs to eliminate all high-stakes testing and ensure that state-mandated exams are diagnostic, not punitive.
- Ensure that state mandated testing is not excessive -by decreasing the number of tests to no more than required under federal law. To the extent that Texas must comply with NCLB, current STAAR tests are still more than required under federal law.
- Ensure assessments are valid and developmentally appropriate.
- Ensure the appropriate use of standardized testing for special education and disabled students, as well as a reasonable phase-in for English Language Learner (ELL) students — to prevent these students from being inappropriately subjected to punitive consequences of high-stakes tests.
- Use national norm-referenced tests to provide better student assessment than expensive state-designed STAAR exams. These tests (e.g. SAT/ACT) are proven and cannot be taught. “Passing rates” are not manipulated, and they are nationally recognized. State-mandated standardized tests create unnecessary barriers in our public education system, take valuable classroom instruction time, and divert significant public funding to a for-profit testing company instead of the classroom.
Save Texas Schools believes it is time to reevaluate the role of standardized testing on our campuses and apply common sense limits. Test results should be used to target areas for improvement, not punish individual students and schools. Let’s make Texas lawmakers accountable for an “accountability” system that really works!
Get Active! To join a growing group of parents and business owners concerned about the new STAAR assessments and over-testing, visit the TAMSA (Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessments) website.
Clear Creek Testing Resolution
Over 818 Texas school districts have signed on to a resolution against the current regime of standardized testing originated by Clear Creek ISD and spread by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). The resolution is now turning into a national movement!