Standardized tests are perhaps the most dreaded exams of the school year, and now, President Obama wants to limit them. After consideration of the amount of stress standardized tests inflict on grade school children, the president spoke out on Saturday and suggests that standardized testing only account for 2 percent of class time. To make this an actual policy, Obama reportedly gathered parents, teachers, and officials to lay the groundwork. In his video statement, the president explains his reasons for less standardized tests.
“Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble. So we’re going to work with states, school districts, teachers and parents to make sure that we’re not obsessing about testing.”
The reason no one, especially children, should “obsess” about standardized tests is because they are only a way for the government to track the success of teachers. These tests put pressure on teachers to improve their strategies for teaching certain subjects, but for so long, children and parents experience the pressure of standardized testing. However, the fact that standardized tests are also a way for America to get to the higher end of the education chain, they still serve an essential purpose.
Under the Bush administration, “No Child Left Behind” was designed to help American students compete with foreign students, educationally. Now, the Obama administration promotes a similar project model, “Race to the Top.” Despite that initiative, Obama has teamed with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to end the standardized testing craze.
So, does Obama want to stop America’s “Race to the Top?” No, instead it appears that Obama is stumping standardized testing because it has not been successful in helping American students get ahead. In support of President Obama, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a statement in favor of his efforts to limit standardized testing in American schools.
“We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward.”
The policy, known as the Common Core Standards, was originally revised under the Obama administration in 2010. However, both political parties have since expressed concern about this policy overpowering state and local education policies. All are in agreement that the federal government should have less say in how states and municipalities choose to educate, according to Fox News. To fix this error, state and local officials will be among those with whom Obama plans to meet on Monday. The meeting will answer on going questions about standardizing testing times. Recently, the Council of Great City Schools’ executive director, Michael Cassler, revealed the indecisiveness that still exists regarding standardized testing times.
“How much constitutes too much time is really difficult to answer.”
Based on a recent report by the council, the amount of time children currently spend taking standardized tests is a bit higher than what Obama desires. On average, American students spend about 20-25 hours per year taking standardized tests in school. These hours are reportedly used to administer 112 standardized tests in the mere 12 years that students spend in primary and secondary school. Based on the responses by teachers and parents alike, this is far too much testing. But, also based on their responses, teachers appear to have a different reason for opposing so much standardized testing.
Teachers believe that their performance as instructors should not be linked to standardized tests. Psychological studies show that standardized tests intimidate some students, causing them to score low. In support of teachers, 63 percent of parents agree that teacher performance should not be linked to standardized tests. To make things easier, Obama and supporters will provide states with guidelines for standardized testing without enforcing federal policies that overpower state and local governments.
[Image via Washington Post / Getty Images]