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Student Testing

“District Leadership in the New Era of Assessment”

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Most school superintendents think students spend too much time on tests but report that their districts are still investing time in test-preparation strategies, according to a survey.

The findings released last month are based on a 2016 survey by the Center on Education Policy. The center, at George Washington University, surveyed superintendents in states that adopted the Common Core State Standards and used tests that reflect those standards.

The study reflects their experience with tests in one year only: 2014-15, the first year that the two federally funded assessments for the common core, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and Smarter Balanced, made their debut.

More than 6 in 10 district leaders said they think students spend too much time taking tests. They also said that in reducing testing, they would prefer to shorten state-required tests and to keep those designed by districts or teachers, which are often seen as more instructionally valuable than state tests.

Despite their feelings about time spent on testing, more than three-quarters of the superintendents said their districts used test-preparation strategies such as reviewing released items or administering practice tests.

Nearly 60 percent of the district leaders said the average student in their districts spent a week or less on test-preparation activities. Thirty-three percent said their students spent a week or more—sometimes a month or more—on test prep.

Vol. 36, Issue 23, Page 5

Published in Print: March 1, 2017, as Student Testing
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