We are very fortunate, we moved my 1st and 2nd grader to a brand new charter school that does not focus on testing and focuses on being present with your kids. They are a project based school that allows the child an incredible growth opportunity. The kids do not have homework they have prep work and pre-work is only for those who do not get their work done in class. My kids come home every day excited to learn and when they do have prep-work they are eager to be ready for school the next day! I know this is not for everyone, but for us it really works!
But, go ahead and ask a public school parent what their biggest complaint is with education and everyone will shout out “testing”! Check out the stats from the big-city public schools they take about 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-kindergarten through high school graduation.
"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, that the principles I just outlined are reflected in classrooms throughout the country—to make sure that our kids are enjoying learning, that our teachers are able to operate with creativity, to make sure we are preparing our kids for a lifetime of success." —President Obama
Posted by The White House on Saturday, October 24, 2015
President Barack Obama has voiced his concerns that our students are spending way too much time taking those tests and not enough time learning and being creative. The White House posted a video to their Facebook page, where the president urged school districts to limit standardized exams to no more than 2 percent of a student’s instructional time in the classroom. He said, “I also 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.”
President Obama is working along with the Department of Education to get school districts to reduce the number of tests our kids take. He is asking states to:
- Limit testing to high-quality tests that focus on good instruction and can be used to track students’ progress.
- Reduce the amount of time students spend taking tests.
- Limit how the tests are used — using them in conjunction with other factors to determine how a student and school is doing.
President Obama issued an open letter today. See the letter below.
An Open Letter to America’s Parents and Teachers: Let’s Make Our Testing Smarter
From: President Barack Obama
Here’s a simple question: If your kids had more free time at school, what would you want them to do with it?
If you’re like most parents, here’s what I suspect you wouldn’t want your children to be doing with their extra time in the classroom: Taking more standardized tests. I certainly wouldn’t want that for my girls.
In moderation, I believe smart, strategic tests can help us measure our kids’ progress in school. As a parent, I want to know how my kids are doing, and I want their teachers to know that, too. As President, I want to hold all of us accountable for making sure every child, everywhere, is learning what he or she needs to be successful.
But when I look back on the great teachers who shaped my life, what I remember isn’t the way they prepared me to take a standardized test. What I remember is the way they taught me to believe in myself. To be curious about the world. To take charge of my own learning so that I could reach my full potential. They inspired me to open up a window into parts of the world I’d never thought of before.
These aren’t the kinds of things you can easily measure by filling in the right bubble. In letters, emails, and conversations around the country, I’ve heard from parents who worry that too much testing is keeping their kids from learning some of life’s most important lessons. I’ve heard 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.
I’ve asked the Department of Education to work aggressively with states and school districts to make sure that any tests we use in our classroom meet three basic principles.
First, our kids should only take tests that are worth taking – tests that are high quality, aimed at good instruction, and make sure everyone is on track.
Second, tests shouldn’t occupy too much classroom time, or crowd out teaching and learning.
And third, tests should be just one source of information. We should use classroom work, surveys, and other factors to give us an all-around look at how our students and schools are doing.
The Council of the Great City Schools – a group of the nation’s largest urban public school systems – recently released a new report that surveyed standardized testing in our schools and found that the average student in some school systems are taking 112 standardized tests before high school graduation. The report shows how much opportunity there is to eliminate redundant and uncoordinated tests — and free up more classroom time for teaching and learning. You can take a look at that here.
We’re going to work with states, school districts, teachers, and parents to make sure the principles I outlined are reflected in classrooms across our country – and together, we’re going to help prepare our kids for a lifetime of success.
If you’ve got thoughts on this topic, I want to hear them. Share them right here.