Maryland educators lobby for reduction in standardized tests

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) -- Many Maryland teachers and administrators are urging Maryland legislators to enact a bill which would reduce the number of standardized tests for students each year.

The measure would limit standardized testing to two percent of each school year.

Dawn Pipkin, who teaches middle school in St. Mary's County, says "Because of this hyper-focus on accountability, it means that it's very likely that often they could be going through a whole school day and taking a test in every class."

Pipkin adds "I think psychologically when they are constantly bombarded with tests, especially students struggle in a particular content or a particular skill, it can be really difficult for them to feel any measure success."

Betty Weller, President of the Maryland State Education Association, was among many educators who testified in favor of the bill Wednesday before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Weller says, "Kids have lost subjects, they've lost arts and physical education and all those things because we have to find time to test, we have to find time to practice tests, we have to find time to make the sure the kids know how to take the test.

"So that time comes out of the school day, and now what we're asking with this bill is to protect 98 percent of the instructional time that our students have."

Last year students in 14 Maryland school systems took 30 hours or more of standardized testing.

The average Maryland student takes more than 200 standardized tests during their time in school, taking away 25 hours from instruction.

The Learning Policy Institute recently ranked Maryland as the second worst state in the country for teacher classroom autonomy largely because of the testing mandates.

A similar bill to limit standardized testing in Maryland passed the House of Delegates last year but failed to pass in the Senate.

However supporters of the measure say there are 31 co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate this year, which represents two-thirds of the entire Senate.