Despite TN Department of Education's press releases and media blitzes bragging that the TDOE has heard all the complaints from teachers and parents about excessive testing, and thus the TDOE is graciously cutting testing time for 2016-17 by 30%, it is not factually true.
Fuzzy math may fool all of the people some of the time, but Tennessee teachers are smarter than that. Teachers know how much time they’ve spent on testing the past few years, and they know a big fat lie when they smell it. So, “thank you” to the observant teacher who alerted us to this fact. We Momma Bears researched through old testing manuals to find the truth. And we compiled it in this nice chart so you can see for yourself:
You're probably doing some critical thinking right now and wondering, "How can the Tennessee Department of Education claim that testing times have been reduced when the testing times have increased?" Well, look at how last year’s TCAP/TNReady testing time substantially spiked from previous years. (Remember last year's test was cancelled by the TDOE due to the testing vendor not meeting expectations, so those tests never really happened for elementary or middle school students - that's why we made that column gray).
This is just like when stores jack up prices right before a 20% off sale!
Because here’s the kicker: the old TCAP testing time from previous years is actually SHORTER than this year’s testing. See all those green boxes on the chart? So, truthfully, testing times have INCREASED.
You might have noticed that the Social Studies field testing time for grades 3-8 is shorter this year, so it does look like slightly less testing overall, but you can bet your #2 pencil that next year's Social Studies test will be much longer than 50 minutes. (Note: Field testing is when the state allows a testing company to use our children to develop future tests. So, in theory, your children are forced to be unpaid product testers for a company who will profit from their work).
Yep, the old bait and switch. Fooled ya. The TDOE cherry-picked numbers, again. Surprised? Nope, we’re not either.
So what do we want?
Testing should not be high-stakes for students or for their teachers. It should not be used to determine their teachers' employment status or job evaluations. Testing, especially in younger grades, should not exceed the time it takes for college entrance exams, legal bar exams, or other such professional license exams. Over seven hours of testing for grades 3-5 is excessive and inappropriate! Over 8 hours for middle school students is absurd! Tests should be shorter. We're so sorry this means testing vendors won't make as much money on our students... Boo hoo... Tests should also be transparent so that parents, teachers, and the public see the test questions after the tests are graded. Tests should be used to help teachers and students, not hurt them. Tests should be used to help school districts to know where more resources need to be allocated to help students. Tests should be a tool, not a weapon.
We’ll be refusing/opting-out of this year’s testing chaos, again. If you want to know how, visit our our website to find out how.