Education Letter to the Editor

Time Devoted to Testing Surprises New Teacher

April 04, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

As a new member of the teaching profession, I’m perplexed by the amount of testing that is done throughout the year. I was a long-term substitute for four months and spent more time testing my 3rd graders then than I did instructing them.

In addition to daily multiplication quizzes, the students took a weekly spelling test, a weekly Houghton Mifflin Reading test, a chapter math test every two weeks, a theme skills test once a month, a unit math test once a month, a writing-prompt test every trimester, several county and state exams, and a physical-fitness test.

There are so many different tests, and their results don’t correlate. The challenge is coming up with creative ways to schedule time for real instruction to increase the all-important scores. Is it true that our students are tested more than 85 out of 180 days?

The irony is that after four short weeks in a new classroom, without most of these tests having been administered yet, teachers are required to send “retention notices” to the parents of the students that they expect may need to be held back.

Cindy Mulvey

La Quinta, Calif.