If you heard a loud shout of elation earlier this week, it may have been the students in the Marietta City School system who just found out they would have to take one less standardized test next year. The school district is facing funding issues, and like many other schools in our nation, it may cut some standardized tests in order to save money. In this case, the district could save about $42,000 a year.
Don't worry. The children of Georgia will still get their standardized test practice so that they are ready for the mother of all scan-tron tests, the ACT. The school system will just be cutting back to the grade levels which receive state funding to take the test. Under the new plan the schools will test children in the second, fourth and seventh grade, which is fine with Debra Pickett, the assistant superintendent who spoke for the school system saying, "We feel like we over-test."
As a member of the standardized testing generation, I can't help but be elated over this decision. By the time I graduated from high school I had handled so many number 2 pencils in student-filled cafeterias that I still confuse a chopstick with a test taking instrument when I eat Chinese. Due in part to federal mandates of No Child Left behind, public school has become more about teaching kids how to take a standardized test than about the content in the test or content that matters in real life.
It's about time that school officials realize that making students take the skills test year after year isn't necessary. What can the district do to save money on the regular classroom tests that still need given? Perhaps they can follow the lead of teachers Tom Farber and Jeb Harrison who sold ad space on their exams to local businesses in order to cover the cost of paper.
If more ads in front of our children bother you, I have to ask, did you vote yes the last time your local district had a levy renewal on the ballot? If not, then you don't have a whole lot of room to talk.
Lack of funds means fewer standardized tests in schools