Limiting Standardized Tests

Sophie Pressler, Reporter

On October 24 President Barack Obama announced his administration would be releasing a Testing Action Plan to improve standardized testing.

“If executed properly, a standardized test should be able to address a student’s weaknesses and help them to improve” history teacher Mr. Dunnagan said. “However, the number of different standardized tests diminishes this effect.”

According to, President Barack Obama said he hears from parents who worry about too much testing, and from teachers who feel so much pressure to teach to a test that it takes the joy out of teaching and learning. The Testing Action Plan’s goal is to limit standardized testing to only 2% of instructional time being taken away from students. The Obama Administration has created this plan in order to cut unnecessary testing and keep only tests that truly measure whether students are on the right track to success.

“I think Texas has already addressed a lot of the issue of an overwhelming amount of standardized testing,” assistant principal Shelly Schwebach said. “However, there is always room for improvement as far as the education is concerned.”

Texas already takes a significantly smaller amount of standardized tests than the rest of the nation. While many states require students to take up to 20 standardized tests, Texas gives no more than 10 each school year.

“I think that students are often over tested and over analyzed,” Mr. Dunnagan said. “The point may have been reached that the value of tests has been diminished by their frequency.”

Though the goal of the Testing Action Plan is to limit the time spent testing, it does not dictate that certain tests should be eliminated, leaving the decision to state governments. The hope for many is that if the amount of tests is decreased, the accuracy and quality of the remaining tests will improve.

“I think that limiting the amount of tests won’t make too much of a difference,” senior Erin Williams said. “What really needs to be addressed is the content of the standardized tests pertaining to what we are learning in class.”

Many are skeptical as to whether the Testing Action Plan will truly be beneficial to student learning. Currently, more teachers and students are concerned about the understanding and knowledge received in a specific course than how well a student does on a standardized test.

“I don’t think that our teachers stereotypically spend all of their time teaching to the exam,” Schwebach said. “Most teachers instruct so that the students have the opportunity to be successful and should not have to worry as much about how they will do on a standardized test.”

In Klein ISD, the goal of the teachers and administration is to cover every TEK, or guideline, of a particular course in order to fully educate the students on that subject and help them to excel in the class. Contrary to popular belief, the teachers do not just “teach to the test” and take pride in their position as an educator and want their students to learn a multi-faceted course.

“My hope is that fewer tests will encourage students to take the tests more seriously as an assessment of knowledge and less as just a state requirement,” Dunnagan said.

Some students do not study for standardized tests because they feel they are not fully informed of what will be on the test. Due to serious time constraints, teachers are not always able to help students to prepare for these tests along with the already rigorous curriculum they are teaching. If the amount of tests is reduced, teachers should be able to better prepare their students and will be more informed on what is one each test.

“It would take one more thing off of everyone’s plate,” Schwebach said. “The staff and students juggle several tasks or assignments at a time and it would make the workload lighter.”

Despite doubts about the positive effect of limiting standardized testing, students and teachers alike agree that it will decrease the heavy amount of work they do on a daily basis. Even if only a few tests are cut, the less stress the better. The Testing Action plan has led many to wonder what improvements can be made to the whole education system and how future education might change.

“I really hope that the American education system will evolve to be more about the students’ pursuit of knowledge and understanding instead of the sheer desire to get good grades,” Williams said.