Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Amount of time for testing "just right"?

The headline for "Survey: More Educators Think 'Just the Right Amount' of Time Is Spent on Testing" is deceptive.
Yes, a slightly smaller percentage of teachers think there is too much time taken for testing, and a slightly larger percentage think there is "just enough"time taken for  testing compared to two years ago, but 52% of teachers still think there is too much time preparing for and taking tests and 53% think students spend too much time in test taking and preparation.
Note that the question asked was about both "preparing for and taking assessments." In a sidebar, the original report  notes that in 2013, 70 percent of teachers and 55 percent of district administrators said that "the focus on state accountability tests takes too much time away from learning" (p. 9).  No data from two years ago was reported. Ed Week did not report this figure.
Only a tiny percentage thought that not enough time was dedicated to test preparation and administration.  I am sure that staff members of the US Department of Education are in agreement with this small group: As the standards expand to more subject matter areas, we can, of course, expect more testing.  (I have documented this in S. Krashen, 2012, “How Much Testing?” Diane Ravitch’s Blog (July 25). <http://dianeravitch.net/?s=how+much+testing> (accessed October 13, 2013).
Another important result: Students said they value teacher-made tests far more than they value standardized tests: 54% thought that teacher-made tests helped them understand what they learned, but only 21% felt that way about "state accountability tests."
Also not reported in the Ed Week article: 92% of girls and 87% of boys said that they thought that the teacher "cares about my learning" and 92% of girls and 85% of boys said that they "learn a lot in school."

Northwest Evaluation Association survey: http://www.nwea.org/makeassessmentmatter

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