Students taking too many tests?

Published 3:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2016

Another round of school test results has been released and once again we have a metric by which to judge a school.

The latest results from the Mississippi Assessment Program testing show local students are on track with students across the state. Though the Mississippi Department of Education said scores were stable or improved over the previous year’s scores, it also acknowledged that it’s a new test and that makes it tough to compare.

So it will be next year when schools have a better understanding of how scores really compare.

School officials, teachers, students and parents are bound to be sick of yet another score or grade. While these kinds of tests are meant to help increase student achievement, is it possible they have the opposite effect?

Students spend several days a year taking tests and teachers spend many more preparing students to take tests. Does all the test-taking leave enough time for quality instruction? Are they being over-tested?

These tests, along with the Third Grade Reading Gate and others, show teachers and principals what they already know. Some students will meet expectations and some won’t, and those that need extra help are already getting it at a quality school.

Are the tests meant to help those schools that aren’t paying attention to student achievement? If that’s the case, maybe they are worth it.  But at some point, MDE needs to take a hard look at how test-taking affects classroom instruction. It could be we are doing more harm than good by working so hard to pass the state’s tests.