My name is Katherine Grace Harness. I am an 8th grader at Kenmoor Middle School. I have been taking standardized tests since second grade. They have become a way of life. However with the addition of the new PARCC test, people everywhere have woken up to the excessive amount of standardized testing. We need to reduce the number of standardized tests. Fifty-five out of one hundred and eighty school days are taken up with standardized tests, not counting the unit tests each teacher may give. That means more than a quarter of the school year is taken up with testing. We take at least six different standardized tests.
Standardized tests are used for getting data. This data is not being used for improving student instruction; it merely says if students are on grade level or not. It does not diagnose the problems in the classroom students are having so that teachers can help them. It does not improve education.
If we had less standardized testing, more time could be spent on each unit to ensure that everyone understands the chapter before moving on. I know there have been things that I wish the teacher had given more time to. In science, my teacher has a list of experiments we did not get to do because that time was taken up testing. Students who cannot go to school every day spend the time that they can go to school making up testing and not actually learning in the classroom. Students that need accommodations often have to test after the rest of the students, so they miss valuable instructional time.
If we had less standardized testing, we could spend money on other things. States spend about 1.7 billion dollars on standardized testing annually. 1.7 billion dollars is a lot. This money could be spent on things such as new programs for the schools, new materials, maintaining our school buildings, increasing teacher salaries, and much more.
One thing that can be done to fix that problem is to combine all the tests into two or three tests. If the county, the state, and the country work together than we can get the data we need without taking up as much school time. We need to lower the amount of standardized testing.
Go here to read the related Washington Post article, “Maryland Voters Express Frustration Over Standardized Testing in Schools.”