Testing Too Much?

One of my gripes as an educator is students are tested way too much. I do think there is a time and a place for assessments and evaluations. They offer information for educators of strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement, or proficiency. It also offers information for parents and the effectiveness of educational programs. There is no way around testing or assessing students. But, there is a point at which it is way too much and especially when they are not used or reviewed by the actual teachers.

At what point do we realize enough is enough? Young students are stressed and anxious about the tests and there is a huge waste of instructional time conducting these. One day a few years ago, I counted up that some students spend 10 days participating in standardized testing (and this doesn’t include the classroom assessments or quizzes). What?? How many adults want to take 10 days of testing for their jobs? Much less spend hours a day sitting at a desk bubbling in circles? No wonder some of our kids hate school.

However, I do think that the blame is misplaced. This is my opinion but I don’t know if it is Common Core to blame. It is how it is approached and assessed. Not the actual curriculum. I just read this article about a school system standing up for the students. Good for them.




I always wondered…

What if the students got frustrated with the amount of standardized tests?

What would happen if all the students protested?

What if they didn’t show up? 

Well, some Colorado students did just that.


standardized testing, academically gifted

PS- I thought these were the interesting statements from the article:

Critics say the tests do not represent what is taught in state high schools, and that preparing for them wastes valuable classroom time and stretched resources.

“Practically no teachers or students were involved in the passing of this legislation,” Chaya Wurman, one of the organizers and a senior at Boulder’s Fairview High School, said in a video statement.

“We’re being tested on things that we have never learned before, or haven’t learned in years,” she said, adding that many students believe they would not do well on the tests.

Homework or No Homework?

standardized testing, academically gifted

OK- I have yet another confession… my opinion of homework has changed now that my son is school-age.

I used to think it was a great way to practice skills learned during the school day and projects were a family bonding time.

Nope- not any more. I am second guessing all the homework I assigned. Was it torture, review, parents completing it, or boring for students? I think a mix of all of these. After a long day of using their brains, students need a break. They need time to pursue outside interests, relax, time for family, or just to do nothing. Kids need to learn to do nothing (this is a topic for another blog post) or play. Many like to do sports or spend time with their family. Some even want to learn more math or read new books- but this is their time.

Everyone has an opinion about this topic- this is just mine.

I loved this article written for the Washington Post reviewing research on this topic. The author raises some fantastic points about the importance of homework (or lack of).


Testing, take 4

Last post for now on testing. I hope I haven’t lost readers over the past few days.

First, I want to clarify. I do think there is a time and place for testing and assessment. It does give teachers and parents important information about the child and their learning. It can also provide teachers information about their effectiveness. Most (if not all) teachers do not want to “overtest” students.

An argument can be made for our school (Wake Gifted Academy) purposes, we use assessment data gathered for admissions purposes. Yes we do, but it is information gathered about the learner to best understand if we can provide the best education environment for the child. I like this quote from Carolyn K of Hoagies Gifted Education page about testing:

Why Test?

The answer to the question “Why Test?” is the same for the gifted child as for any other child: you should test to answer a question.  Tests can provide detailed information about the child’s learning needs to parents and teachers, including gifted identification for educational planning and gifted program participation.  Tests can also offer information for early intervention of learning differences, and to facilitate an appropriate education.  And you should test when you need the answer to any of these questions.


Testing, take 2

Printable Door Sign for Testing Week

As I was reading the research paper mentioned in yesterday’s post, I found a few quotes I felt was worth noting.  My post on Thursday will talk about how I sound like a hypocrite when it comes to testing…

“When instruction is wholly geared towards teaching to the test, critics argue, scores are unlikely to provide an accurate measure of student learning, problem solving skills or critical and higher-order thinking skills. (pg. 27)”

“Ideally, a good assessment motivates students and teachers to work harder, creating a richer learning experience. But in itself, working harder does not always result in higher test scores (Lin, 2002), and higher test scores do not always reflect richer learning. (pg. 27)”

“As noted previously, high-stakes testing programs do not encourage the kind of complex, authentic curricular or instructional practices that are necessary to challenge gifted students. (pg. 33)”

From: State Standardized Testing Programs: Their Effects on Teachers and Students


Tonya R. Moon
Catherine M. Brighton
Jane M. Jarvis
Catherine J. Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia

Image: http://www.weareteachers.com/blogs/post/2014/03/13/free-printable-door-signs-for-testing-week

Gifted Students and Standardized Testing

Believe me– everyone has an opinion about standardized testing. I will not bore you with my whole opinion about testing. Maybe that will be another post? Not sure if anyone would read that.

Testing with gifted children is nothing short of torture. Weeks of review they often don’t need, review that is not stimulating (no offense to any teachers- hard to make this exciting), and then to sit hours on end to take the test is detrimental to many gifted students, or any student for that matter.

I stumbled upon this research article about standardized testing and gifted children the other day and thought some of the conclusion statements were worth mentioning (read the article for all the statements).

Teachers and students feel a tremendous amount of pressure associated with high-stakes testing to produce high student test scores.

The pressure felt by teachers associated with high-stakes testing results in drill and
practice type of curriculum and instruction.

There is a clear feeling among most teachers that the focus on minimum standards and basic skills has diminished both the richness and depth of the curriculum and professional autonomy over curricular and instructional decisions.

Gifted and talented students feel pressure to perform well to bring up all scores which can often result in disengagement from the learning process.

Many gifted students report frustration and resentment at the slow pace of learning and repetitive nature of text preparation.

It appears that the current high-stakes testing movement affects gifted students by providing a curricular ceiling that is well below their own academic potential.


From: State Standardized Testing Programs: Their Effects on Teachers and Students
Tonya R. Moon
Catherine M. Brighton
Jane M. Jarvis
Catherine J. Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia