President Obama is making a big deal this week about reducing the number and intensity of standardized tests that kids around the country have to face. A new study released today by the Council of the Great City Schools shows why: An average student in the United States will take 112 standardized tests by the time they graduate high school.
Students spend 20 to 25 hours a year just taking tests. That amounts to about 2.3% of all classroom time for an average public school eighth-grader—to say nothing of the time spent preparing for and stressing out over tests.
Obama, who had previously supported policies that increased the level of testing in classrooms, has now called for capping the time spent taking tests at 2% of classroom time. He and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a meeting with public school teachers in the Oval Office "to discuss their shared efforts to reduce the amount of time students spend on redundant or low-quality tests, while still ensuring that teachers and parents have the information they need on students’ progress," according to a statement from the White House.
The level of testing peaks among eighth graders, but is more than 20 hours per year at every grade from third through eleventh:
The data comes from assigned testing during the last school year that affects more than seven million students in about three dozen states.
"How much constitutes too much time is really difficult to answer," Michael Casserly, the council's executive director, told The Associated Press. But if you ask your average eighth grader—and President Obama—what we currently have is probably too much.
Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.