Issues 2017: School assessments and an overall cap on standardized testing

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With the Federal government’s passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state and local governments have been given more leeway to decide how they want to look at student achievement, as well as assess the effectiveness of schools and teachers.

Some very good ways to start undoing the harm of the test-and-punish model from the years of
No Child Left Behind are with bills that either cap or even roll back the large amount of standardized tests that actually get in the way of a student’s education. Teachers report throughout Baltimore that the incredible amount of standardized tests pushes other subjects, like music and the arts, to even library time, to the periphery. Capping the amount of time spent on standardized tests will help students reclaim their education.

Last year, the House of Delegates passed a bill that would have capped the amount of time used to take a standardized test to no more than 2% of total class time. The Senate, however, wanted to wait until the state commission on standardized testing completed its report before it would take a stance on its version of the bill. That report, which made quality recommendations and suggestions on how districts can make better use of the standardized tests that it already administered, was largely ignored by the individual county education boards. It has become clear that the county boards must be mandated by the state to roll back or cap the amount of standardized testing if Maryland is to push its education system beyond the drudgery of learning merely to take a standardized test.  

AFT-Maryland strongly supports HB461/SB452 which would scale back the amount of standardized tests conducted in our public schools and give our children a chance really to grow by simply letting teachers teach.

For more information, contact Todd Reynolds, Political Coordinator, AFT-Maryland, at