What We Know (and Don’t Know) About Testing Time—and What States Can Do

Client: High Quality Assessment Project

Legislative- and executive-created commissions in three states—Colorado, New Jersey and Ohio—have recently studied their schools’ use of assessments and the time students spend taking tests and offered recommendations for changes. Over the past two years, a handful of national organizations and networks—including American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress, Council of Great City Schools and TeachPlus—also have examined these issues. In this brief, we summarize the findings of these studies, which show a surprising degree of agreement around the amount of time students spend taking tests and the lack of transparency at the state level around testing. Based on these findings, we recommend that states streamline their assessments to reduce overlap, engage teachers more in decisions about testing and avoid hard-to-enforce mandates on the amount of time spent on testing in classrooms.

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