The Mississippi Association of State Superintendents estimates, according to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, that schools spend between 38 and 45 days giving standardized tests. That comes to a standardized test being given about one out of every four school days.

Most of those tests, though, are not required by the state. The state only mandates that the schools spend about three days, mostly in the spring, giving tests to each grade. Thus, if the superintendents’ estimates are right, those other 35 to 40 testing days are the creation of the school districts — assessments given to try to gauge how well students are doing, give them extra practice on standardized tests and drilling in test-taking strategies.

So, is it really the fault of state testing? Or is it the fault of the school districts that, in trying to give their students and themselves an edge, are cutting down on how much time is actually spent on instruction? We’d say it’s the latter.

If schools just taught the material effectively, there wouldn’t need to be all this extra testing. Teach a kid to read proficiently, for example, and the reading test will be a snap. It’s only because the administrations in these school districts don’t trust their teachers to be covering the material and skills adequately that they are constantly testing and retesting students to gauge their progress.

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