Monday, June 6, 2016

What Teachers Think About All the Standardized Testing - The Atlantic

What Teachers Think About All the Standardized Testing - The Atlantic:

How Much Testing Is Too Much?
Eight in 10 teachers think their students spend too much time taking government-mandated tests.

It’s not hard to find a teacher willing to bend your ear about the volume of standardized testing in schools today, and the pressure for “test prep.” But how widespread are such concerns among educators? And what’s the on-the-ground reality they experience?
New survey data suggest these impressions about over-testing and test prep are more than just anecdotal: They are the norm for the majority of public-school teachers.
Eighty-one percent believe their students spend too much time taking tests mandated by their state or district, according to the study by the Center on Education Policy, based at George Washington University.

How much time is too much? On average, students spend 10 days taking district-mandated tests during the school year and nine days taking state-mandated tests, the teachers estimate. But underneath these averages are wide variations, from less than a week (the most popular response in both cases) to more than a month, the survey finds.

When it comes to test prep, 62 percent of teachers say they spend too much time readying students for state-mandated exams. And 51 percent feel that way about district-mandated tests, according to the nationally representative survey conducted in late 2015.

On average, teachers estimate spending 14 days preparing students for state-mandated exams, and 12 days for district-mandated exams.

Of course, not all test prep is created equal. It can mean many things, some good, some not so good. The CEP report defines it as “drilling students on specific content and skills covered on the tests, using practice tests, and/or teaching test-taking skills like time-management and pacing.”

Test prep is especially prevalent in high-poverty and medium-poverty schools, according to the survey. Thirty-six percent of teachers spend at least a month on test prep for state-mandated exams, for example. By contrast, the figure is 23 percent in low-poverty schools.
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These are just a few of the findings from the Center on Education Policy report, conducted with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s based on a survey of more than 3,000 teachers. The data, issued last month, offer fresh insights into the views of classroom educators on testing, standards, Common Core implementation and more.

Others have reported on important findings regarding declining teacher morale, including USA Today and Education Week. The short version is that many teachers are losing a commitment to their field amid multiple frustrations, including pressures around testing.

“While the teaching profession in the U.S. may not be in full blown crisis, … forces outside of teachers’ control may be taxing their good will and dedication,” the report says. “The most notable stressors revealed by the survey are the time What Teachers Think About All the Standardized Testing - The Atlantic:

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