President Obama: Testing Should Be No More Than 2 Percent of Class Time

Policy and Government

President Obama: Testing Should Be No More Than 2 Percent of Class Time

Oct 27, 2015

OPPOSITE DAY: President Obama wants to limit standardized testing in public schools. Are we hearing that right? Faced with more and more opposition from states and both parties, he declared Saturday that the push for more testing had gone too far. More specifically, the administration has said that students should spend less than two percent of classroom instruction time taking tests, calling on Congress to reduce “over-testing.”

What brought this on? Why such a dramatic reversal? The National Assessment of Educational Process, colloquially known as "the nation's report card," may have some thing to do with it. According the Assessment, more time spent taking tests does not equate with better academic performance.

Public schools already seem close to hitting the mark: a report from the Council of Great City Schools found that eighth graders—who usually get tested the most—spent an average of 4.22 days (or 2.34 percent of school time) taking tests.

The Obama administration has acknowledged its own role in "increasing the burden of testing" but also expressed that it would continue pursuing annual tests evaluating students, albeit in an altered form. In a video on the White House's Facebook page, President Obama described the new type of testing as needing to be higher-quality than before and only used as one resource in a holistic evaluation of each student.

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