Testing More, Teaching Less: What America’s Obsession with Student Testing Costs in Money and Lost Instructional Time
For this study by the AFT, assessment inventories and testing calendars from two medium-size urban school districts were reviewed. A two-district analysis was utilized to identify recognition and a variety of assessment practices. The study used a detailed researched-based rubric for estimating instructional time lost to test preparation (which the authors defined as giving practice tests and teaching test-taking strategies). The intent of including test preparation was to provide conservative estimates relative to other studies of time engaged in these practices. The report includes both findings and recommendations relative to testing practices and concludes with the suggestion for more widespread analysis of the costs of testing on local districts and communities.
This resource provides insight into the practices within two districts from different states and regions of the country relative to time and money spent on use of classroom assessments. For this reason it is somewhat limited in how its findings should be interpreted, however its profile of practices within these two districts raise important questions for consideration and discussion relative to the time, cost and impact of assessment practices. The information provided is easy to follow, well organized and includes graphics and visuals that add to its presentation. It is timely, and would be useful to help engage discussions as districts consider new ESSA guidelines relative to state and local testing requirements. In addition, a variety of related references are noted, and could be used for further investigation on this topic.