The movement to curb standardized testing in schools scored a small victory this week. The Florida legislature passed a bill limiting the number of hours students can spend on state and district testing to 45 per school year.
Even some advocates of standardized testing welcomed the legislation. Two years ago, the Foundation for Excellence in Education looked into how many standardized tests students were taking in Florida. The group was founded by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who expanded the use of testing in the state.
“Some school districts were requiring as few as eight tests on top of what the state required, and some districts were requiring up to 200 additional tests,” says Patricia Levesque, CEO of the foundation. “There is such a thing as too many tests.”
If signed into law by Governor Rick Scott, the bill would also eliminate an 11th grade English test, and schools would no longer have to give final exams in every subject not covered by state tests.
That’s progress, says Bob Schaeffer, who often speaks for the growing test resistance movement as Public Education Director of the group FairTest. But, not enough.
“The vast amount of time devoted to testing in public schools is not administering the exams themselves, but the huge amounts of time spent by teachers and students getting ready for the tests,” he says.