78 percent of NC teachers say students are tested too much

Joel Brown Image
Friday, June 1, 2018
Teachers weigh in on end of grade testing
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Thousands of teachers say end of grade testing is way too much

The response has been overwhelming from North Carolina teachers on the hot-button issue of testing.

End of year testing is underway at schools across the state; and when State Superintendent Mark Johnson sent teachers a survey Thursday afternoon asking what they think about that testing, thousands weighed in to say, 'It's way too much.'

"It was our most-quickly responded to survey we've sent out to teachers," said Drew Elliot, Communications Director of NC Department of Public Instruction.

Since the survey went out at noon, more than 15,000 teachers responded to NCDPI.

"We've been sending out surveys on things like, would you like to carry a firearm in your classroom; when should school start," Elliot said. "But, this is the highest response rate that we've seen."

Question 3, answer 1 drew the largest majority: 'Are students in the grade I teach, tested too much?'

A total of 78 percent of teachers answered yes.

"This shows you about the amount of pressure that our students are under, our parents, and of course our educators with high-stakes testing in North Carolina," said NC Association of Educators President Mark Jewell.

The average third-grader in North Carolina spends 13 hours taking federal and state-mandated exams.

It's 16 hours for eighth-graders. Then add on hours more for tests mandated by local school districts.

Jewell and the NCAE have insisted for years that there's too much emphasis on test results at the expense of other indicators like involvement, engagement, and the amount of resources students get to be successful.

"Well obviously, (teachers are not against teaching) teachers created 'the test'," Jewell said when asked how we should measure learning without tests. "But, (testing) to be for diagnostic purposes and not a hammer. The test as punishment is killing the love of public education."

NCDPI is pledging to spend the summer focusing hard on this - determining if some of the exams can be combined and can others of them be scrapped altogether.

"This (survey) information we can use to talk to policymakers and talk to local school districts, superintendents and school boards," Elliot said. "We've got to do something about this."