By SOPHIA ROTHMAN, age 12, and IndyKids staff
On December 10, 2015, President Obama released a new education policy called the Every Student Succeeds Act. The act allows each state to set their own measurements for success, instead of requiring states to use standardized testing to assess students, teachers and schools.
A few months prior, the Obama administration had released new testing guidelines for K-12 schools and school districts in the United States. The Testing Action Plan proposed that the amount of classroom time spent taking tests be reduced from 2.3 percent, totaling about 20-25 hours of classroom time per year, down to two percent. The change is slight, and does not reduce time spent preparing for tests.
Although these proposed changes will not eliminate testing altogether, in Obama’s announcement of the Testing Action Plan, he agreed that students spend too much time taking tests. The Council of the Great City Schools, a group that addresses issues in large, urban public schools, found that between pre-K and grade 12, students take approximately 112 tests, averaging eight per year. In response to overtesting, many students across the country have decided to “opt out” of these tests. Fair Test, an opt-out movement advocacy group, announced that more than 500,000 students across the country opted out of state tests in 2015. Some parents feel that these tests are not helping to measure their children’s knowledge.
Julia Rubin, a parent and one of the founders of Save Our Schools New Jersey, feels that standardized testing does not help students and is a sign of growing inequalities. She told PBS Newshour, “What the test primarily measures is the wealth of their families and the background education of their families.”