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more testing backlash



Bill would limit tests in schools
5/7/2003 3:18 PM
By: Mitch Kokai & Web Staff

Lawmakers want to limit the number of testing days in school.

Public school students could spend less time taking tests in the future if
state lawmakers support a bill that's cleared the Senate Education Committee.
The bill would limit standardized tests to five days in each school year.

Some state Senators worry that school kids spend too much time filling out

"Some school systems are spending 75 to 85 days a year testing,” Sen. Tom
Apodaca (R-Henderson) said. “It's an honorable initiative to get scores, but
we're spending way too much time testing and not enough time teaching."

“If we can test them against a national norm and do that within a limited
number of days, that's far better than having them take test after test after
test to establish the same thing,” Sen. Richard Stevens (R-Wake) said.

The Education Committee supports a bill that would limit standardized testing
to five days each school year. Schools would use national tests so North
Carolina could compare its scores to other states. A new committee would
oversee testing rules.

"There's a lot of time spent on teaching tests and when you do that too much,
you take away from the youngster's ability to think out of the box,” Sen.
Harris Blake (R-Moore) said.

Bill supporters said students could spend more time in class learning if they
spent less time taking tests.

"I am concerned about the teaching of history, the teaching of social
studies, the teaching of so many things that may not be covered that much on
the test, but I think any well rounded student should have,” Senate Majority
Leader Tony Rand said.

Some Senators warn that too many tests hurt teachers too.

“You're taking creativity out of the hands of the teacher and you're making
him a robot,” Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) said. “That's killing morale
and sending teachers out of the profession as much as any one thing that I
know of."

The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee must
endorse the plan before the full Senate can vote on the testing limits.