Testing important for proper education

newsroom@islandpacket.comApril 7, 2014 

Standardized tests in our schools have been getting a lot of attention recently, particularly the idea that there are too many of them. That may be true, but I offer some perspective.

We read that students will spend an equivalent of at least 22 school days of testing by graduation. With an average of about 180 school days per year, there are about 2,160 school days (grades 1-12) by graduation. So we are talking about approximately one day out of 100 to see if students are learning what they are supposed to learn.

On its face, that doesn't seem excessive to me. I don't advocate redundant or otherwise unneeded testing, but I see a general anti-testing bias out there.

An old military paradigm is to "expect what you inspect." In other words, if you don't test to see what students are really learning, there will inevitably be problems. Don't we have to make sure that our students are getting the education they need, and that deficiencies are identified and corrected?

Students go to school less than half of the days of the year. Would it be that hard to find one or two more days per 180 to recover the "lost learning time" from testing?

We are the tax-paying public, the concerned parents and the responsible administrators. We should demand testing to ensure that education is what it should be. Get rid of redundant or otherwise inappropriate testing, but don't get rid of standards and accountability.

David B. Jennings

Lady's Island

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