Whether testing is taking up too much classroom time is a hot topic in education. The Maryland State Education Association has launched a campaign against over-testing highlighting the amount of classroom time spent on preparing for and taking mandated standardized tests.
This week, as reported in the Baltimore Sun, Anne Arundel County Public Schools planned to unveil a proposal to replace final exams at the end of a semester with quarterly exams. As described in the article, the concern in the case of final exams does not center on the amount of time required to take the test, but rather that the process can be stressful for students and yet is not conducive to comprehensive understanding of the material. This is a slightly different argument than that used against standardized testing, though both hinge in part on the teacher’s ability to structure and guide the learning environment.
In addition to testing at shorter intervals in high school, the proposal would standardize and consolidate assessments in middle and elementary schools. It would not effect students from pre-kindergarten to second grade.
School board member Deborah Ritchie said final exams don’t allow high school teachers to go back and reteach the content.
“Maybe you notice a large portion of kids miss question 10. Quarterly assessments provide you with the opportunity to review what your kids know and where you might reteach,” she said.
For more information about Anne Arundel’s proposal see the Baltimore Sun.
For more information about the campaign against over-testing students see MSEA President Betty Weller’s opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun.