Up for Discussion: How Can We Improve the Impact of High-Stakes Testing?
You probably saw that late last month the Obama Administration put out a call to limit K-12 student testing to less than two percent of classroom instruction time. The news arose amidst the release of a report by the Council of the Great City Schools that took a deep look at the time and impact of testing in largest districts around the country. The report found that students spend about 20-25 hours a year on federal and state mandated assessments—not including prep time.
The discussions around reducing testing time received top billing in the media and ensuing discussion, but some of the other findings and proposed mandates give more context to the real issues at hand.
The report findings show that the time between when students take a test and when teachers receive meaningful results doesn’t leave educators enough time to assess progress and make adjustments as needed. Additionally, some of the tests are “not specifically aligned with college- or career-ready standards.”
Aside from reducing testing time, the President is also asking for more meaningful testing with more actionable results. This is something that we think about a lot at Schoology—how can we help make high-stakes testing have a better impact?
Measuring student progress at strategic moments is important. So would be the ability to rapidly incorporate the test results back into the classroom, enabling educators to create personalized plans to help each of their students master what they struggled with on the test. It seems that closing this loop between major assessments and day-to-day learning is vital for an effective classroom.
Let's discuss: what do you think has to change to reduce the time impact and improve the educational impact of high stakes testing?