Parents say kids are over tested in Maryland, legislators agree
Students in Wicomico County are getting tested way too much, at least that’s the claim being made by the Wicomico County Education Association (WCEA) and parents 47 ABC spoke with at Pittsville Elementary and Middle School Monday night.
According to WCEA president and Wicomico County teacher, Gary Hammer, students in Wicomico County are getting tested twice as much as the national average.
“In my 39 years I’ve never seen the testing to the extreme it now, never and it’s definitely hurting instruction,” Hammer said.
Hammer tells 47 ABC that the over testing has taken a toll on students.
“Number one we don’t have time to go back and pick up those kids who maybe didn’t get all the concepts because we got to get ready for the next test. And then the second problem is, instead of the curriculum dictating the tests, it’s the tests dictating the curriculum,” Hammer said.
Hammer said research done by his association show that testing takes four to six weeks away from the curriculum with little thought about the routines of students.
“Anything that disrupts the school day, just like your family, if you have kids at home, anything that disrupts their regular routine is going to affect them emotionally, same thing happens with kids and testing,” Hammer said.
Parent, Jessica Facer, has a daughter in fifth grade and feels her daughter is already being over tested.
“I feel like it stresses her out, which in turn stresses me out,” Facer said. “When she does take the test she comes home with headaches, she’s irritable, she’s exhausted, it’s not necessary to put her through that.”
The solution may lie in two bills currently in Maryland’s State House.
House Bill 141, which would require the State Board of Education to only allow federal, state and locally mandated testing for each grade to take up two percent of the minimal instructional time.
And House Bill 657, which focuses only on kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. If passed, instead of assessing all kindergarten students, Maryland would only be allowed to assess sample groups. It would also forbid testing pre-kindergarten students entirely.
“I think that folks on both sides of the aisle are convinced we do too much testing these days,” said bill sponsor, Del. Haven Shoemaker (R). “I would prefer that we spend more time teaching kids reading and writing arithmetic as opposed to teaching to the testing.”