Testing Overload in America’s Schools
The goals of this study were to obtain a better understanding of how much time students spend taking tests and to identify the degree to which the tests are mandated by districts or states. The study focused on 14 urban and suburban districts in seven states during the 2013-14 school year. Researchers examined district and state assessment calendars and supplemented that information with correspondence with school district and state central-office staff, along with other publicly available information. From these data, the researchers identified the number and frequency of district and state-required standardized assessments for students and the time it took them to take the assessments. Some of the findings found in the report include: districts require more tests than states and students were tested on standardized assessments, on average, about once per month. Based on the findings and analysis, the report makes several recommendations on how states and districts can implement high-quality assessments that “can be a valuable tool for teachers to determine where students are struggling, for parents to understand their children’s progress and knowledge gaps, and for policymakers and advocates who need assurance that all students are receiving a high-quality education” (p. 5).