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08 November 2015 @ 08:39 am
Change of heart  
The news from the Department of Education last week was that the government had a "change of heart" about testing. The proposal was to reduce testing to about 2% of instructional time. This is NOT a change of heart. This is simply a nod to those who have decried the incredible amount of time devoted to testing. Unfortunately, this "reduction" (and those are air quotes for sure) still allows for many hours of testing. 2% times 7 hours in a school day times 180 days in a school year nets this: 25 hours of testing. Sounds reasonable on the surface. But this number does not reflect what really takes up more time than the tests themselves: test prep. The benchmarking begins soon after school opens here in Texas. I am fairly certain this is not just a Texas phenomenon either. And this request fewer tests is a guideline and does not have the force of law.

What was fascinating as I read about the proposal was how different media outlets covered the announcement. I include links here to demonstrate the range of the reporting:

Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-calls-for-capping-class-time-devoted-to-standardized-tests-1445705954

US News (op-ed piece: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/10/26/obamas-school-testing-talk-is-meaningless

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-na-obama-testing-policy-20151024-story.html

Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/26/where-did-obama-administrations-2-percent-cap-on-standardized-testing-come-from-you-wont-believe-it-or-maybe-you-will/

The 74 (Campbell Brown's reformist group): https://www.the74million.org/article/obama-vows-to-reduce-testing-but-doing-so-may-be-harder-than-it-seems

Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/education-department-too-much-testing-215131

Now matter how you slice it, though, this is meaningless rhetoric.
 
 
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