President Obama encourages less standardized testing - DatelineCarolina

President Obama encourages less standardized testing

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Dr. David Virtue thinks limiting time on standardized testing would give students and teachers more opportuities to be more creative in the classroom. Dr. David Virtue thinks limiting time on standardized testing would give students and teachers more opportuities to be more creative in the classroom.
A typical American student takes around 112 standardized tests between Pre-Kindergarten and 12th grade. A typical American student takes around 112 standardized tests between Pre-Kindergarten and 12th grade.

By Alex Martin

President Barack Obama is calling for caps on the amount of standardized tests in classrooms. According to a study of 66 schools conducted by The Council of Great City Schools, teachers are spending 20-25 hours a school year giving standardized tests and that doesn’t count the hours they spend preparing students to take them.

“Learning is about so much more than just filling in a bubble,” said President Obama in a video released on Facebook.

USC's College of Education Assistant Dean Dr. Cindy Van Buren believes standardized testing is important but should not be the only way teachers gage student knowledge.

“I think it’s one good measure of how students are performing in the classroom, if we over rely on standardized testing if we use that as the only measure we probably don’t get a good indication of what the student knows,” said Dr. Van Buren.

Teachers are nervous about the scores of these one-size fits all tests.

“The results of that test are being tied to teach evaluations and that’s a national trend,” Dr. Van Buren said.

But Van Buren also says only a small percentage of student performance impacts teacher’s credibility.

“If you look at South Carolina’s model for teacher evaluation only 20 percent of the teachers evaluation has anything to do with students performance,” said Dr. Van Buren.

Professors at USC’s College of Education, like Dr. David Virtue, are teaching these education majors to assess student learning on a daily basis instead of relying on one standardized test.

 “What we try to do here is equip or teacher with the skills they need the strategies and assessment methods to assess student learning on a day to day basis on a minute by minute basis depending on the lesson they’re teaching so they know where students are and how they’re progressing,” said Dr. Virtue.

The Obama administration is working to cut the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests to no more than two percent of class time.

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