Putting a cap on student testing
The Maryland House of Delegates said without a doubt that the state needs to put a cap on how much time public school students spend on standardized testing. Monday, they unanimously passed House Bill 141, that would require that no more than two percent of the annual instruction time be allowed to be used towards federal, state, and locally mandated tests for each grade.
“I think the members of the house understand that parents, students, and educators are concerned about the amount of testing, and they’ve made that stand on the two percent. I’m hoping the senate will do the same thing,” said Gary Hammer, president of the Wicomico County chapter of the Maryland State Education Association.
The Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) believes students currently spend too much time test taking and not enough time learning the curriculum.
“What’s happening now is because there’s such a high stakes focus on these standardized test scores educators are spending more and more time trying to make sure kids are prepared for the test,” said MSEA president Betty Weller.
In Wicomico County, Superintendent of schools Dr. John Fredericksen said a majority of the grade levels already fall near that two percent mark for testing. Even so, Dr. Fredericksen disagrees with the bill because he thinks putting caps on test time should be a decision for each county to make.
“I think local decision making should be primary on this, but on the other side of the coin I recognize they’re giving us three fourths of our money. He who pays the piper usually gets to pick the tune,” Dr. Fredericksen said.
The bill must still pass in the senate, where it has not yet been heard. Those with the MSEA are asking those at home who agree students are being tested too much, to call and voice your support of the bill to both Sen. Addie Eckardt and Sen. Jim Mathias.