President Obama called for a cap on standardized testing as his Administration conceded partial responsibility for the over-reliance on the examinations. Media reporting – including two minutes on CBS – is sympathetic toward the new policy, but also focuses on the previous White House push for the testing as being a significant reason that the education system’s reliance on the tests reached the current level.
The New York Times (10/25, Zernike, Subscription Publication) reports that “faced with mounting and bipartisan opposition to increased and often high-stakes testing,” the White House “declared that the push had gone too far, acknowledged its own role in the proliferation of tests, and urged schools to step back and make exams less onerous and more purposeful.” The Times quotes Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying, “I still have no question that we need to check at least once a year to make sure our kids are on track or identify areas where they need support. But I can’t tell you how many conversations I’m in with educators who are understandably stressed and concerned about an overemphasis on testing in some places and how much time testing and test prep are taking from instruction. It’s important that we’re all honest with ourselves. At the federal, state and local level, we have all supported policies that have contributed to the problem in implementation. We can and will work with states, districts and educators to help solve it.”
In a video released on Facebook, according to the AP (10/25, Lederman, Kerr), Obama “called for capping standardized testing at 2 percent of classroom time.” Obama said, “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 NPR (10/24, Kamenetz) “NprEd” blog quoted Obama as adding, “I hear from parents who rightly worry about too much testing, and from teachers who feel so much pressure to teach to a test that it takes the joy out of teaching and learning both for them and for the students. I want to fix that.”
USA Today (10/25, Doering) reports the White House released a 10-page plan that “outlined a series of steps to help educators end assessment that is burdensome or not benefiting students or teachers.” The Administration says tests should be “‘worth taking,’ time-limited and provide a ‘clearer picture’ of whether students are learning.” Obama echoed that feeling , when he said that in “moderation, smart, strategic” tests can help understand students’ progress and facilitate learning. According to Politico (10/24, Emma), the plan says “In too many schools, there is unnecessary testing and not enough clarity of purpose applied to the task of assessing students, consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress for educators and students.” It adds that “The administration bears some of the responsibility for this, and we are committed to being part of the solution.”CNN (10/24, Ure, Liptak) reported on its website that the White House “isn’t citing specific tests that should be continued or scrapped, leaving that decision” to specific jurisdictions, but the Los Angeles Times (10/25, Resmovits) indicates the Administration promised to provide “‘clear guidance’ on how to use federal money for testing audits by January 2016.” In its report, the Times reports that Duncan and “his nominated successor, John B. King Jr., will meet with Obama at the White House to discuss how to reduce the amount of time students spend on what the administration called ‘redundant or low-quality tests.’”
The Hill (10/24, Richardson) “Briefing Room” blog reported that while the President “can’t force states and districts to change their testing policies,” he will “direct the Education Department to make it easier for schools to satisfy federal testing mandates.” Obama Duncan will meet with education professionals “to outline a plan to reduce time spent test-taking.” The Wall Street Journal (10/25, Tau, Subscription Publication) reports the Administration also urged Congress to reduce student testing as part of its reworking of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The Christian Science Monitor (10/25, Toh) quotes Duncan as saying, “I still have no question that we need to check at least once a year to make sure our kids are on track or identify areas where they need support,” but teachers “are understandably stressed and concerned about an overemphasis on testing in some places and how much time testing and test prep are taking from instruction.”
On the CBS Evening News (10/24, story 5, , Axelrod), Julianna Goldman reported the “mea culpa was timed to a survey released showing standardized tests have exploded in the past decade.”
Monday, October 26, 2015
Administration Urges Cap On Standardized Testing.
Posted by Room #18 at 7:56 AM