State standardized testing is fast approaching Texas public schools. Most of the students that take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests do so from April 26th-28th. Although there are additional testing dates throughout the school year for students taking TAKS, the last week in April is essentially the culminating week that for state testing in Texas.
As I was looking up the testing dates in April, I saw a schedule. After living ‘testing’ for 20 years, I was astonished at the schedule when I took a step back. Below is the testing schedule for students in Texas public schools for the 2010-2011 school year. Note the schedule does not include district benchmark or test prep days throughout the year. Several of the dates are for different content areas, grade levels or for students that failed to meet a minimum cut score on a previous TAKS test.
The Texas Education Agency contracts Pearson to facilitate the state testing for Texas public school districts. According to the schedule above, there are at least 34 days students test, retest or take an end of course exam.
To help offset the budget shortfall, legislators proposed doing away with testing for two years in an effort to help prevent the massive impending layoffs of teachers in Texas.
If you look at the list issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), note how much Pearson gets paid each year.
I think a moratorium on testing two years would help Texas refocus their efforts on preparing students to be successful, productive citizens after high school graduation and hopefully bring passion back to teaching. Texas could do a great deal of good by redistributing almost $78 million per school year. What are your thoughts?