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State Testing, A Waste Of Time

Are state assessments worth our time?

State testing is a controversial topic. Some people think they are essential to help teachers and the state know how their students are progressing. However, there is a lot of opposition to the idea of state testing being mandatory. According to the article The Lie Behind State Testing, “If you’re a student from poverty or an English language learner or, you have a learning disability, well, the test is stacked against you.”  The 8th-grade principal, Mr. Dial, discussed some of the issues state assessments pose for schools. “The legal measures are that the state is requiring us as a public institution to give state assessments so we can determine how students are doing. Another issue is that state testing takes away valuable time from teachers,“ he said. “I am not a fan of taking away teaching time to take assessments as much as we do. I think in some cases it’s a detriment,” he said.  

But, what do students think about state testing? 7th grader Eli Doman said, “I feel like it’s not really that much different than elementary. It feels the same and it’s going pretty good.” Testing takes up about 4 hours and 30 minutes. That is almost 5 class periods lost to testing. 8th grader Quinten Jessop says, “I think testing should be taken less seriously because do we really need 2 days for a test?”  State testing is also unfair to students with special needs. Mrs. Taylor, Secondary Teacher of The Year, said “Students are tested at one level, but they might not have skills at that level, and the state assessment does not take that into account.” Taylor also said, “If the students are improving we should celebrate it.”

State testing can also be a challenge for students whose first language is not English. In the article, The Lie Behind State Testing, teacher, Kelsey LeMar, said that her Somalian refugee student struggled with the tests because English is used not only for reading tests but also for math tests, because of the excessive use of word problems. “Just hop online and take a math practice test. The first thing you will notice is that it’s 90% reading!” State testing takes up lots of time that teachers could be using to teach, and can be very unfair and challenging to kids who have little or no knowledge of English, who will be tested the same as kids who have spoken English their whole life. So, if state testing is posing more challenges for schools and students, why are we still requiring them?

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