Rep. Darryl Owens has pre-filed a bill to limit testing time in Kentucky classrooms to allow teachers more instructional time and decrease “teaching to the test” practices that impede real learning.
Owens’ bill would impose a 5 percent limit on actual time teachers spend on testing, freeing teachers to concentrate on instructional learning for their students.
“Teachers who are stifled by testing mandates and parents whose children are overwhelmed by incessant tests are seeking relief to ensure more realistic and positive learning experiences in the classroom,” said Owens.
It is estimated that testing preparation and administration can consume up to 25 percent of student and teacher time every year. Current state and district testing requirements are designed to boost scores in order to comply with federal regulations and ensure federal funding.
Teachers in Jefferson County Public Schools administer more than 320 diagnostic and proficiency tests to students each year, in addition to the more than 90 that are required by the state and federal government. Jefferson County Public School teachers report that students lose between three to five weeks of valuable instruction time per year to mandated and required tests. And in spite of the overwhelming number of tests, the achievement gap between affluent students and students living in poverty has actually grown.
The Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) supports Owens’ bill because it has asked for assistance for decreased testing time from the district and has been met with indifference.
“By reducing the amount of standardized testing and test-prep, teachers will be able to focus on teaching methods that have proven records of success, including project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, and authentic assessment, all designed to promote a more positive and engaging public education experience that will help our students succeed,” said Brent McKim, JCTA President.
“There are efforts underway in Washington to address this issue, but we know how slow the wheels of progress grind in Congress and Kentucky simply cannot wait for their solution,” said Owens. “The legislature has the responsibility to help our students and teachers thrive and succeed and this bill will empower them to do that.”