Are American kids being overtested?

There has been a debate lately if American kids are being overtested because they have to make to much standardized tests. Andreas Schleicher from the OECD says no, Pasi Sahlberg and Yong Shao they are. In the new Best Evidence in Brief, there is more information:

In response to the lack of evidence surrounding the debate over whether students are being over tested, The Council of the Great City Schools has conducted  the first detailed study on testing. They examined test practices in 66 of the U.S.’s largest urban school districts during the 2014-15 school year.

The study found that the average student in the 66 districts took eight standardized tests a year. Between PK-12th grades, eighth graders were tested the most, spending an average of 4.22 days testing per year. Yet there was no correlation between the amount of test time and math and reading achievement. Although testing provides an objective measure of data, states reported having to wait 2-4 months for school-level test results. This delay prevented test results from being useful in guiding instruction, as did the fact that most states administer tests in the spring, so results weren’t received until the school year had ended. Further, researchers found that test results were used in ways they weren’t intended to be, as in judging an individual staff member’s performance when they were designed to measure school and district performance.

The study also found that tests were often redundant. Students would be tested in the same subject more than once because one single test did not yield all desired data (for example, one test would show grade-level performance, while another would analyze performance by item). In addition, researchers noted that these tests were not an accurate measure of students’ content knowledge.

A survey administered to parents revealed that they support testing that accurately reflects their child’s performance in school, and that they do not support more difficult tests.

So it’s not really the question if these kids are overtested, it’s rather that it seems pretty pointless.

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