Testing in North Carolina public schools will now be less demanding because of an initiative announced by N.C. State Superintendent Mark Johnson last week.
According to his Jan. 15 announcement, Johnson considered feedback from parents and teachers, many of whom felt students were taking too many tests, and implemented several steps to reduce testing.
Some of those steps include reducing the number of test questions, reducing the amount of time students sit for tests, working to reduce the amount of locally required tests and giving students ways to show progress aside from testing.
“We will be working with local superintendents and state leaders to reform the system of over-testing,” Johnson said in the statement. “That way, we can give the teachers the time to do what they entered the profession to do: teach.”
Tina CoyneSmith, a parent to a fourth-grader and a high school student in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said she and other parents in the CHCCS district were curious about and confused by Johnson’s announcement. She said she’d love to see a reduction in state testing, but has yet to see any real steps in that direction.
CoyneSmith said her fourth-grader took around 13 standardized tests during the 2017-18 school year. She thinks that number is too high, and her students aren’t benefiting from having so many tests.
“From a parent perspective, it feels to me like all of this testing is not helping us achieve the end result of improving student outcome,” she said.
CoyneSmith feels the amount of testing is actually harming students because it takes them away from their time with teachers.
Ultimately, she thinks Johnson’s steps to reduce testing are only addressing part of the issue. She said her children should not be evaluated solely on a test score.